Member News | Teamwork makes the dream work: Salad’s shift to employee ownership

Brand and communication agency, Salad Creative has announced transfer of ownership to its team in an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

Only 600 companies in the UK have adopted the HMRC approved scheme and Dorset based Salad, is the first creative agency in the region to make the shift. The process transfers Salad’s private shareholding to a collective ownership across its workforce.

Producing brand, marketing and digital work for clients including Commonwealth Games Team England, House of Garrard, Mitchell & Butlers Plc and Grape Tree Health Foods, Salad celebrates its 20th anniversary this summer.

Managing Director, Arabella Lewis-Smith is excited about the agency’s new chapter. She says: “From our humble beginnings, the last 20 years of Salad have been a brilliant journey and I’m delighted to mark this significant anniversary with a move to employee ownership. I have always believed that, as a leader, you work for your team and it’s your job to inspire the next generation of leadership.

“So, when my co-director, Andy Brown, and I considered the future of the agency, we wanted to ensure both our sustainability as a business and the empowerment of our team. As we weighed our options and discovered more about employee ownership, we felt that an EOT was the perfect fit.”

Despite 100% of shares transferred to benefit all of Salad’s employees, the EOT structure secures Bella’s continued engagement with the business into the future.

Arabella continues; “I am as driven for Salad’s success as ever and I’m not going anywhere! The EOT represents the best outcome for me, allowing me to maintain a custodian role and real connection to the business. Salad is fuelled by meaningful cultural connections and the collective power of our team; quite simply our whole is far greater than the sum of our parts.

“Our mantra, ‘Beautifully Effective’, gives us direction and focus in the work we produce. The way the EOT structure fits our business and our culture, by aligning the team as owners, certainly feels beautifully effective to me and I’m thrilled the team feel the same.”

An EOT makes decisions through a Board of Trustees, one of which is a representative of the employees. Salad’s Head of Delivery, Nicole Cook, was voted into this role.

Nicole says: “Bella & Andy introduced us all to the concept of an EOT last year and following an objective and robust legal process, we are all very pleased with the outcome. After asking lots of questions and doing our research as a team, we were all in agreement that the EOT felt right for Salad.

“The transparency it gives will enable us to make decisions together for the good of the business and, as beneficiaries of bonuses based on profit, that will only help us be more focussed and engaged. The EOT is a great platform, empowering us to take part in the conversation that drives the business forward. I’m really proud to be a part of it.”