10 years EO: What MyCSP has learned about employee ownership and what it’s doing for our 10th EO Day

MyCSP recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and, to mark the occasion, it has shared some of the lessons it has learned about employee ownership in the past decade.

MyCSP Ltd, which was the first mutual created from a central government service when it was launched on May 1, 2012, is one of the UK’s leading pension administrators, with one of its largest clients being the Civil Service Pension scheme, with over 1.5 million members and 340 employers.

The business, which is based across two sites in Cheadle and Liverpool, is a mutual joint venture partnership between employee partners, who own 25% of the company held in trust for them, and its private sector partner, Equiniti’s pension business Paymaster.

Sharon Crosland, who is company secretary of MyCSP and of the corporate trustee that manages its Trust, is a ‘mutual guardian’ at the company – a role that was created from the outset to ensure MyCSP has someone “at a senior level who would always focus on the employee ownership side of the business and ensure it is always front and centre of our thinking”.

She refers to her role as “oiling the wheels in terms of the actual practicalities of employee ownership” and she advises its elected employee partnership council and employee shareholder trustee to make sure they understand what their role is and what to focus on.

Sharon, who was part of the original team in the Civil Service that did the project to create the joint venture, has spoken to the EOA about the 10 years of MyCSP.

What we’ve learned

Here, she provides four lessons it has learned about employee ownership since 2012:

  1. Awareness: “Don’t assume everybody automatically buys in to it, because they certainly don’t and sometimes you do need to convince people, so even though we’ve been going 10 years we still have to do promotion inside the company to ensure that people are aware of what it means, aware of the benefits, and aware of the processes, so you need to keep renewing those messages and that awareness.”
  2. Recruitment: “It’s helpful to recruit to values rather than just skills and competencies.”
  3. Empower employees at all levels: “Never underestimate what relatively junior staff can bring to the table, because we have had some amazing employee directors who have had no experience of anything like this before, being a director of a company or being involved in senior decision making, but if you give them the right training, the right support, they will rise to the challenge and ask incredibly insightful questions and challenge the senior team.”
  4. Keep EO front and centre: “You need to keep working at it because if you assume everything is fine everybody will just focus on the day job, especially if you’re in a very busy environment, so you do need to keep EO on the cards.”

Celebrating a decade by helping us #GrowEO

As MyCSP celebrates its 10th birthday, so too is the Employee Ownership Association (EOA) – with June 24, 2022, marking our 10th EO Day, where employee-owned businesses and stakeholders celebrate all things employee ownership.

For this the 10th EO Day, the EOA wants members and stakeholders to help us plant the seed of EO in the minds of the nation to #GrowEO like never before and share what you are doing on social media – with our web page containing 10 tips for what you can do to shout about EO.

MyCSP, for example, is using this year’s EO Day to profile its employees’ own EO stories.

Sharon added: “Our Employee Partnership Council will be developing a set of stories and testimonials from employees, some of whom have been here 10 years, some of whom are new, about their view of employee ownership, their journey and what it means to them and how they want to celebrate and note employee ownership for us.”

A previous example of how it marked EO Day was a ‘Pizza and Prosecco Party’ it held where employees wrote down what being employee-owned meant to them and they created a collage of these.

Bringing EO to life

MyCSP says it has ensured over the last decade that EO is “built into the fabric of how we do business” and it does this by having employees on all the decision-making bodies and by including it in its corporate targets – with one being around mutuality “to keep our managers focused on it” to “create that visibility as part of normal business, not this extra thing on the end”.

Also, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approach, its 1+1+1 programme developed and run by the Employee Partnership Council “is at the heart of our efforts to be a good corporate citizen” and aims to donate 1% of its profits and 1% of its time to good causes, and to have 1% of its people in training via apprenticeships and internships.

MyCSP featured in Episode 6 of the EOA Podcast, listen in here >>

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