Guest Blog

This is for articles submitted by key contributors to the EOA


‘Why I’m passionate about making sure the younger generation are moving the employee-ownership sector forward’ | Guest blog

Following his contribution as a speaker at the EOA Annual Conference 2021, Jake Hallatt – a 22-year-old graduate management trainee at employee-owned Gripple – has produced a guest blog on why he is so passionate about spreading the employee ownership (EO) message to younger people. Jake is an elected employee representative on the Glide council, which represents all the shareholder members who work in its partner companies like Gripple. A former apprentice of the year award winner, read Jake’s blog here: When I was elected to the Glide council, I was just 18 and ...

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Industry experts offer top tips for employee-owned businesses accessing finance for the first time | EOA Conference

Employee-owned businesses thinking about funding for the first time have been offered top tips for what they should and shouldn’t do when accessing finance. Speaking at the EOA Annual Conference 2021, three industry experts provided their insights into the role banks and investors can play in unlocking the potential that employee ownership can bring in terms of benefits to businesses, employees and customers, both in financing the transition and investing in future growth. The trio showcased the “many different options available for accessing finance – all with ...

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Postlethwaite – 5 Tips to a Successful Employee Ownership Transition – Guest Blog

You’ve done the research and are convinced of the multiple benefits of transitioning to Employee Ownership (EO) and how it can have a positive impact on your business, your employees, their productivity and also your legacy. You realise the employee ownership option provides the best exit strategy for you and your business, so what happens next? To assist and ensure your business’s transition to employee ownership is as smooth and as successful for the long term as possible, there are some key considerations you should take the time to think about and address. ...

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Why HLM Architects is ripping up the rule book when it comes to reward strategies and ways of working | Guest blog

Employee-owned company HLM Architects, which was listed as third best architectural practice in the UK and in the top 100 best companies to work for in the Sunday Times, has studios in London, Sheffield, Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff and a workforce of 190. Managing Director Karen Mosley – who joined the company as an apprentice at 17 more than 33 years ago – details how and why it is ripping up the rule book when it comes to reward strategies. We know that a feeling of belonging and sense of reward can be achieved or indeed eroded in so many ways. At its most basic, ...

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EOA Conference Headline Sponsor – J Gadd Associates Guest Blog

Guest Blog by Jeremy Gadd, J Gadd Associates Where has the last year gone to? How can we be on the eve of the 2021 EOA conference already? We are delighted to be Headline co-sponsors for the third year running, along with Postlethwaite, supporting the first fully digital EOA conference. We know the EOA team have been working hard alongside First Event to bring together more opportunities to experience case studies, discussions and share best practice, in addition to formal and informal networking. Some of the benefits of attending any conference, are the opportu...

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Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs): Key considerations – Moore Kingston Smith

Guest Blog by Harpreet Gill, Moore Kingston Smith   Moore Kingston Smith is a leading UK firm of accountants, lawyers and business advisers. With over 60 partners and more than 500 staff based in and around London, we are a leading member of the international accounting and consulting network, Moore Global. As well as providing accountancy, tax, legal and corporate finance services, one of the areas we specialise in includes Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs). EOTs continue to grow in popularity as a way of engaging with employees while providing an alternative ...

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We predicted that employee-owned resilience would be an advantage in the face of a global pandemic. But were we right?

Guest blog by Simon Everingham, Baxendale Employee Ownership   According to two recently published surveys by Ranstad UK1 and Autonomy2, almost a quarter of UK workers are planning on leaving their current employment in the next few months. Some are calling this ‘The Great Resignation’, and fear a mass exodus may be on the cards if companies do not act to improve their offer to employees soon. While the reasons for workers to move jobs are diverse (on average it’s expected that 11% of workers will move jobs every year1), in some sectors such as care, ...

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Guest Blog | The Eternal Business Consultancy – Avoiding The Shop Steward

One of the key functions of trustees in an employee owned business is to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries for the employees. They need to hear the employee voice, and so inspire the team to step up and think like business owners. Crucially, the trustees need to hear the voice of employees on ownership issues – not to act as a shop steward for employees interests. There are lots of positive steps to take to instil the feeling among employees that they are being heard. But there are also a few pitfalls to avoid. For example, the trustee body which is ...

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Guest Blog | J Gadd Associates – 5 Ways Governance and EO Go Hand in Hand

Governance was once a topic that could empty a room in seconds, but things are a little different these days. Attitudes are changing, and fast. Top line, governance is about the way an organisation is managed, at the highest level. It is also about the systems and practices in place for doing this. It is focused on direction, control and accountability. In practical terms, governance is about having the right things in place to preserve and strengthen stakeholder and shareholder confidence. Governance is about making sure the basis for a high performing organisation ...

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Five reasons why employee ownership can re-energise and unify your workforce post-Covid – Trace Solutions

Neil Stewart, Sales Director, Trace Solutions   In a year that has witnessed huge change for organisations, employee ownership – offering employees a stake in the business - has come to the fore as a way to re energise and unify the workforce. The Employee Ownership Association reports year on year growth in EO companies in the UK, with over 450, contributing in excess of £30 billion to UK GDP in 2020. It offers a compelling option for improving staff retention, putting employees at the heart of the organisation whilst delivering a persuasive point of ...

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Guest Blog – Why Unity Trust Bank is proud to sponsor EO Day and how we can support businesses that want to become employee-owned

Unity Trust Bank is a proud trustee member of the Employee Ownership Association and we are delighted to sponsor this year’s EO Day on June 25th. As a bank with a social conscience and a rich heritage, we share the EOA’s commitment in supporting business models that bring true societal benefits. We were established in 1984 to serve the common good, and this year’s theme for EO Day, #bettertogether, has never resonated more as we emerge into a post-pandemic world. Mark Clayton, Chief Operating Officer at Unity Trust Bank, said: “It’s clear that there is a ...

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Guest Blog – Should Former Owners Be EOT Trustees?

It is common, especially in the early years of the company being employee owned, for the previous owners to want to be one of the trustees. The former owners almost always have the best interest of the company at heart. It’s not easy letting go of control, especially when you are being paid out of the future profit of the business. However, giving up a little bit of control is like being a little bit pregnant. It’s kind of an all or nothing situation. A former owner who keeps a position of influence is inadvertently sending a message to the employees that is ...

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Guest Blog – Jenny Herrera: Good Business a no-brainer for Employee-Owned Businesses

I had the privilege of being on a panel alongside Neil Wright of TensCare Ltd in EOA’s November 2020 three-day series of webinars called EO Boost.  We were talking about ‘good business’ as part of a three-part series looking at its benefits for individuals, business and society. I loved hearing his example of how effective employee representation at board level translated into the company branching out into a completely new product, for facial muscles, which is now their biggest selling item!  As our conversation continued ‘off webinar’, Neil learned about ...

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Mott MacDonald Executive Chair Mike Haigh on Employee Ownership

Employee ownership has many advantages for us as a business from the independence it creates to the knowledge that what we do is for the benefit of our colleagues and wider stakeholders. Importantly, it allows us to focus on what is important to us, to invest in what is important to us. This is a time when society is more and more questioning how we invest in the built environment and are asking “what wider benefits can these investments bring to our communities”. Bringing about these wider benefits requires a focus on the outcomes that investments can achieve. ...

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Patrick Lewis: It’s time to harness the full potential of employee ownership

Whether it’s the inequality of unconstrained capitalism, the untapped capability and commitment of those in and out of work, or the unsustainability of our way of living – we all know that we need to find a better way. We need to address many issues – and fast - and the obvious place to start is where many of us spend most of our time – in the workplace. The Government has a role to play – but each of us has a key part in striving to make the organisation we work for lead the way in its contribution to our community. Too often we have seen absent “sharehol...

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Guest Blog – My lockdown experience at Unity Trust Bank

This entry was first published by Julia Tarpey, HR Director of EOA member Unity Trust Bank on BSB When lockdown first started in March, I felt that Unity was uniquely placed to support its customers. Unity Connect, our UK Customer Service Centre, enabled customers to speak directly to one of my colleagues, and we aim to answer all calls within 15 seconds with 92% first call resolution. I feel proud of this level of service and feedback from our customers confirms they really value the human interaction. At the height of the pandemic I heard someone on the news say, ...

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Educating Leaders in Financial Services about Employee Ownership

Margaret Willis, CEO of Unity Trust Bank, explains why she is committed to working with the Employee Ownership Association to help boost the number of employee-owned businesses in the UK and how they are a force for good. The core purpose of Unity Trust Bank is to lend to organisations which make a positive social, economic and environmental impact and help to create a better society. It is now widely recognised that employee ownership helps to create dynamic and successful businesses which also deliver those vital outcomes. However, although the employee owned ...

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Naomi Climer – Automation, AI and Putting People First

A recent piece of research at the Institute for the Future of Work showed that voting patterns strongly correlate with the perceived risk of job automation in an area. You can read our report here. It’s clear to me that uncertainty about the impacts of automation is a top of mind issue for many people, especially in regions with industries where the likely impact of automation is very visible. AI, automation and new ways of doing things online have already transformed some industries - such as manufacturing where we’ve seen a reduction of workforce as lower ...

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The art of identifying and creating future leaders in an employee owned business

Organisations are complex human systems with a unique combination of relationships and circumstances. They demand a tailored approach to most critical decisions around its people. And arguably, the most important people-based decision in a business will be leadership succession. When you look at this alongside employee ownership succession, having the right successor identified with the necessary support to lead in a business where employees have a stake and a say is even more crucial. The CEO is going to be a steward for the business and will need to consider its ...

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Guest Blog: UK EO Award sponsor Baxendale on retaining a family business legacy

Over many years, and often over generations, family owners nurture and grow their businesses. Family businesses often have collective stewardship, responsible risk-taking and a focus on long-term business goals as their core values. These values, combined with the family’s loyalty to their employees, commitment to a geographic location and a sense of pride in their success and independence, create the family business legacy. This is a legacy that families quite rightly strive to build upon and want to protect. When it comes to succession planning, families ...

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Judges insight Nicola Ryan – UK Employee Ownership Awards 2019

Nicola Ryan
Nicola Ryan, Joint Director of People Services, Rowlinson Knitwear said: I’m really delighted to be a judge for the UK Employee Ownership Awards for the second consecutive year. My professional passion is employee engagement that drives performance.  As a judge, I get a valuable insight into the many ways that EO businesses empower their people to be the change that leads to success. These powerful stories inspired Rowlinson in our journey to become employee owned in 2015. It’s my experience that the awards offer the opportunity to reflect on and showcase ...

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Our culture is essential for our sustainable growth

Gripple Culture
By Michael Hodgson, Gripple Gripple is 100% employee owned, which means that every one of our employees has a vested interest in it and play a significant part in our growth. Founder of Gripple, Hugh Facey OBE once said: “Look after the people and the business will look after itself,” which is one of the key beliefs within the business In our 30th year of trading, we have a proven model for sustainable growth, which is driven by our people. Through that growth, our shared values remain the same and we expect our people to be passionate, team players that are ...

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Employee Ownership Top 50 commentary

by Nigel Mason, RM2 It’s been an interesting year with conversations about employee ownership and employee share ownership in the political mainstream. At the same time the squeeze on the High Street has seen many household names such as House of Fraser collapsing into administration and Debenhams reducing its number of stores by 50 after a string of profit warnings. While our own number one in the Top 50 largest employee owned businesses, retailer John Lewis Partnership, has also seen a fall in both profits and head count, its independence and stable trust ...

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Baxendale’s 10 Key Benefits of Employee Ownership

Baxendale’s 10 Key Benefits of Employee Ownership 1: Continuity When becoming employee owned, the business continues with minimal disruption, unlike the alternatives to selling to employees. 2: A fair price You don’t need to find a buyer and convince outsiders of the value of the business; your employees are already aware of its potential and will pay a fair price. A misconception is that selling to employees means selling at a discount. 3: Financial incentives There are tax breaks – introduced in the Finance Act of 2014 – when you sell to an ...

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Guest Blog; Chris Budd, The Eternal Business

In June 2017, I had reached a point of great frustration with the business I had founded in 2000, financial planning company Ovation Finance Ltd. For the previous seven years, I had been following a deliberate plan of making myself the least important person in my business. My original objective was to eventually perform only the roles that I enjoyed. Ultimately, however, I came to realise that the bigger picture was succession planning, and in particular the fact that I didn’t actually want to sell the business. Instead, I wanted to see it continue after I left. I ...

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Guest Blog | The EOA Awards – A Judge’s Thoughts

As a first-time judge last year and after being fortunate enough to be invited back to judge again this year, I’ve been asked to share a few thoughts on the judging process with the aim of encouraging employee-owners from all corners of the UK economy to consider entering this year’s UK Employee Ownership Awards. As ever, the winners will be announced at the Gala dinner of the EOA Annual Conference in November - the highlight of a great evening that celebrates the best of our sector. Entries for the Awards close on Tuesday, July 24th, so there’s still time to ...

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