EOA welcomes report that highlights how EO can redesign work

The EOA welcomes a report by research partner Ownership at Work that delves into the experience of employee owners to reveal a business model that’s fit for the future. 

The paper entitled “Redesigning Work: Employee Owners Speak”; shows a business model uniquely equipped to cope with the challenges of the pandemic – companies that are resilient, agile and capable of rapid change; thanks to shared ownership and reward, high levels of employee commitment, and deep roots in their communities. 

The author, Stefan Stern, interviewed employee owners from four established employee owned businesses – Childbase, Community Dental Services, Gripple and Union Industries and found that they describe a way of working that is much better suited to a post-pandemic world – with far greater sharing of knowledge and information; more delegation of decision making; more inclusive leadership; more scope for individual initiative and responsibility. 

The paper’s Foreword by prominent pollster Deborah Mattinson, founding partner of the BritainThinks consultancy which is itself employee owned, says there is a “..remarkable fit between how EO firms work and the kind of changes post-pandemic business will desperately need. Clearly work feels different when you have skin in the game.” 

Based on the remarkable performance of employee owned firms, author Stefan Stern says: the answer to the UK’s chronic productivity problems may be staring us in the face here.” He cites that employees who are also owners perform differently because “…they feel a bond that cannot be fabricated on any away-day or off-site event, no matter how thrilling it might be. This cohesion leads to better and more sustainable results.” 

Ownership at Work, Chair, Ann Tyler, said: “Redesigning Work is the latest paper in a series that helps to outline the untapped potential of employee ownership, with findings and suggestions that can support companies in the UK to become more productive, address income equality, drive employee engagement as well as build resilience in both business and regional economies. 

“This new paper looks at employee ownership through the eyes of employee owners and provides evidence of changing behaviours which result when employees are given a stake and a say in their company. This evidence adds a further dimension to the call for more employee ownership in the UK.” 

Deb Oxley, Chief Executive of the EOA, said: “Quite often we focus on the benefits of employee ownership on business and the economy so it is refreshing to hear evidence on the attributes of how this is driven by empowered employees who have a stake and a say in their business.

“Harnessing the power of employees, who are also owners, behind a common purpose is a powerful recipe for increased performance and resilience, which is why this report further supports the rationale behind the EOA’s target to increase the number of employee owners in the UK by 3 million by 2020.”

Redesigning Work is the second of two reports sponsored by Grant Thornton and written by Stefan Stern; the first was Redesigning the CEO: how employee ownership changes the art of leadership.