EO Day stories: Employee-ownership model pivotal in helping Ayrshire firm thrive

A Scottish chemical engineering company is attributing its ability to provide an unimpeded client service throughout the Covid-19 crisis to its transition to employee ownership two years ago.

Taytech, based in Dalry, began the new business model in 2018, Director Iain Lindsay, who heads the 15-strong team, says the residual benefits of being employee-owned, such as high moral and increased productivity, are allowing Taytech to weather the economic challenges arising from the pandemic.

Today (June 26) is EO Day, the Employee Ownership Association’s national celebration of employee ownership and all things employee owned in the UK.

Research released today by the Employee Ownership Association shows the sector is growing – it grew by 28% in 2019 – and that in the combined figures for the The Top 50 Employee Owned Businesses productivity is up 6.9%, demonstrating the characteristics that have been evidenced by Taytech as well as other businesses in the sector in the inquiry report The Ownership Dividend.

Director Iain Lindsay said: “Taytech is not immune to the pandemic pressures facing all business, however our key worker status and staff work ethic has allowed our business to continue to as near normal as possible, even though the construction sector, an area of growth potential for Taytech, has been hit hard. Around 90% of Taytech’s customer base is within the wastewater treatment sector critical to public health, allowing the business to thrive.

“Employee ownership is not a magic bullet and it might not work for every company, but we are seeing high motivation levels during this crisis, our people have a determination to meet every challenge being thrown at them.”

The company has a detailed roadmap for expansion, having moved into a purpose-built business hub in 2018, it wants to double in size in five years – a plan unchanged by the Covid-19 crisis.

“We have customers across the UK who require our expertise in ensuring they keep in line with wastewater discharge regulations” says Lindsay. The rapid response service we provide relies on a lot of goodwill from our employees. We want all our employees to be helpful and to know that they are integral part of the business.

“It’s important to us that we continue to provide job opportunities for local people. We are proud of our North Ayrshire roots and with a committed team can easily service the geography challenges our UK customer base throws our way”

Deb Oxley OBE, Chief Executive of the EOA, said:

“This EO Day we have one clear message, ‘EO is the Answer’. We know from our members that employee ownership has huge benefits for businesses and their employees, which has never been more important as we all grapple with the challenges of a global pandemic.

“The White Rose research show our biggest year of growth as we near 500 employee owned businesses, while the Top 50 shows the continued good performance of the top end of the sector. This is just part of the compelling evidence that employee ownership really could be the answer as we look at the question of how our economy can ‘Build back better’ with, resilience, equality, sustainability and productivity.”