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. Not simply achieving basic levels of compliance but working with clients and communities to create transformational improvements to the communities affected.

To me, Employee ownerships allows us to define, with honesty and integrity, our purpose as an organisation and as individuals, and through that give all our colleagues a sense of ownership of that purpose. In our case we are committed to creating great social outcomes through the work we do with our clients, our partners and the communities in which we work.

The fact is, moving from compliance to transformation requires investment. Being employee owned means that we have the independence to invest in what we believe is important, not simply that which brings the largest return on investment. Investing in creating better social outcomes for the communities in which we work is what our employees want, what our communities need and more and more what our customers want to achieve.

As employee owned businesses, we not only have the ability to deliver better outcomes directly through the work we do; we also have a role in acting as a catalyst for change, an alternative voice in a world which can be focused on economic benefits, not that that is wrong of course in itself but we can also be asking “what else can we do to go further”, to be transformational in the way our investments can improve the lives of those touched by the investments; in the case of the built environment improving: inclusion; accessibility; empowerment; resilience; and wellbeing.

To me employee ownership is not simply an “ownership model” it is an opportunity to create an alternative voice, a voice that can supplement and challenge, a voice that can help everyone achieve better social outcomes.