Within our EOB survey sample, we set out to identify whether certain key characteristics significantly influenced impacts on the economy, employees, the environment and communities. Our headline is that EOB impacts are largely consistent regardless of geography, company size or the specific mechanism by which ownership is shared. However, there are some differences between ownership models that are worth noting. Although small sample sizes mean that some of these differences aren’t statistically significant, they provide a signpost for future research.

EOBs with Employee Ownership Trusts (EOT) in place


  • Financially, the survey indicates that there is a slight advantage from some form of direct ownership (including hybrids) compared to 100% EOTs, with coops very slightly behind those..
  • However, there is an important distinction between EOTs who are pre- and post-financial freedom day (FFD: the point at which the debt incurred from adopting the EOT model has been repaid). Post-FFD EOTs tend to have better financial impacts than pre-FFD EOTs and are comparable to direct and hybrid models of employee ownership in terms of gross operating profits and investment, and tend to redistribute profits to employees at a higher rate than pre-FFD EOTs.
  • EOTs appear more financially resilient in turbulent times than other ownership models. They are least likely to have increased their level of debt – including debt incurred as part of forming the trust – over the last five years.
  • EOTs are the most likely type of employee ownership to offer paid annual leave above the statutory minimum and to provide supported access to private health care.
  • EOTs are also the most likely to hold accreditations for environmental sustainability, employee welfare, employee diversity and inclusion, and health and safety.

EOBs with Employee Ownership Trusts (EOT) in place

  • Coops tend to place more emphasis than other ownership types on encouraging fully democratic employee participation with 94% enabling employees to influence strategic organisational decision making via all-employee votes (vs 47% at EOTs and 35% at directly owned models).
  • While all EOB models are more likely to provide a greater range of policies supporting employee health and wellbeing than non-EOBs, coops are the most likely to have policies such as taking a career break or sabbatical (60%); providing flexibility in contracted hours (93%); having a ‘right to disconnect’ policy in place (47%); and implementation of remote or hybrid working (93%).
  • Since adopting the model, coops are the most likely to have increased their focus on environmental sustainability issues and given back to the local community. Coops are also the most likely to. have 50%+ of their supplier be small and medium sized businesses, and voluntary, community or social enterprises.

There are some differentials of degree around the scale of specific benefits shared with employees where larger firms are better equipped to be more generous, but this does not change the core finding that EOBs go further in providing positive impacts for their employees than non-EOBs across all firm sizes.

We also sought to go beyond more ‘structural’ characteristics and better understand the nature of management decisions that are driving the impacts we have identified. Through our interviews with the 65 EOB senior decision makers and 27 employee owners, we have identified a series of key areas of management activity that were cited as generating critical benefits, including:

  • Sharing reward
  • Sharing critical business information
  • Developing and leveraging employee voice
  • Focusing on employee health and wellbeing
  • Effectiveness of EOB leadership
  • Developing owner behaviours and workplace culture
  • Recruitment and retention
  • Performance review of employee owners

Headline insights have been reflected in latest Knowledge Programme publications and we will publish an additional in-depth report on EO management best practice later in 2023.

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Delivery of the EO Knowledge programme is led by independent think tank Work in Ownership.

Principal Partner Forewords