The UK EO Awards 2019 in Review – An Evening Celebrating Excellence

There were celebrations galore at the UK Employee Ownership Awards with a total of 6 Winners and 10 Highly Commended Employee Owned businesses taking home awards.

This years UK EO Awards, managed by the Employee Ownership Association and sponsored by leading EOA member Baxendale,  saw 40 submissions which were reviewed by an independent panel of judges from across the Employee Owned sector in a two-stage process. After much deliberation by the judges, when the evening finally came we saw a total of 6 Winners and 10 Highly Commended Employee Owned businesses take home awards celebrating their employee ownership excellence.

The oldest and largest employee owned business in the UK, John Lewis Partnership won the Employee Owned Culture of the Year Award with judges citing that “after 90 years the methods of engagement to support the happiness of its partners are still central, significant and evolving” at the business.

With just one year of employee ownership under their belt, Riverford Organic Farmers took the Employee Owned Rising Star of the Year Award -judges noted that having employees engaged ahead of and involved in the transition has helped Riverford to benefit from the “whoosh effect” very early in its EO journey.

Judges felt the Winner of the Employee Owned Business of the Year Award had capitalised on its journey to financial freedom, commenting that the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan was an all-round performer with a culture that unites its employee owners behind a common purpose which drives ambition, innovation and optimised performance.

While Public Service Mutual of the Year Award winner Leading Lives was cited as having mission-driven organisation with great business acumen, employee empowerment driving performance which in turn is driving more and better impacts that align with their values of supporting vulnerable people to live the life they choose.

David Wroe took Employee Owner of the Year, described by his colleagues and judges as living the key values of Gripple’s employee ownership model. “Honesty, integrity, and commitment are words that have been used and he puts everything into giving staff both shop floor and office based a sense of purpose and voice, and importantly they understand how and what they do can affect the bottom line of the business to great effect.”

Finally the Philp Baxendale Fellowship Award was given to Sir Charlie Mayfield in recognition of both his corporate and personal advocacy for employee ownership both inside and outside of the John Lewis Partnership. Special mention was made of his key role in supporting the Ownership Effect Inquiry.

Baxendale Director, Ewan Hall, said: “At a time when thought leaders and organisations are looking to drive better work, better governance and better employee engagement, we are able to showcase a group of businesses that are exemplars in all three areas.”

“These outstanding businesses also outperform many of their non EO rivals with improved productivity, driven by empowered employees, and are more resilient because of stable and sustainable ownership structures and a longer term approach to investment and growth.”

“In short these UK Employee Ownership Award winners are the key examples of why we need more businesses like this in the UK economy for the sake of the individuals and businesses as well as the regional and national economies in which they are based.”

Deb Oxley OBE, CEO of the Employee Ownership Association, said: “Congratulations to all of our winners and highly commended who have rewarded their people power and highlighted their employee ownership excellence.”

“All those who win and are shortlisted as exemplars help us to champion employee ownership as well as help us in our efforts to campaign for more employee ownership in the UK.”

Full List of Winners and Highly Commended:

Employee Owner of the Year

Winner: David Wroe – Gripple

Highly Commended: Neil Hughes – Hayes Davidson / Irma MacLachlan – Workpro

Employee Owned Rising Star of the Year

Winner: Riverford Organic Farmers

Highly Commended: Cambridge Design Partnership / Sawday’s

Employee Owned Business of the Year

Winner: The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan

Highly Commended: The Oak Investment Partnership / Accord Energy Solutions

Public Service Mutual of the Year

Winner: Leading Lives

Highly Commended: East Coast Community Healthcare / The Language Shop

Employee Ownership Culture Award

Winner: John Lewis Partnership

Highly Commended: Be Caring / Rowlinson Knitwear

Philip Baxendale Fellowship Awards

2019 Winner of the Award: Sir Charlie Mayfield

You can read more about the 2019 UK EO Awards, as well as the full stories of this years winners on our dedicated 2019 UK EO Awards Page