UK EO Awards winner: Rowlinson manufactures a tight-knit workforce

Since becoming employee owned two years ago Rowlinson Knitwear has driven a culture change that has ticked every box for success.

After being Highly Commended in the Rising Star Category in 2016, Rowlinson has gone from great to outstanding in engaging not just its employee owners but also its customers.

Established in 1935, Rowlinson Knitwear which employs 50 people, manufactures knitwear for the schoolwear and corporate wear markets.

Moving to employee ownership has given Rowlinson greater control over its future and a renewed focus and confidence to empower and support employees to drive improvements which have contributed to a huge performance leap.

UK Employee Ownership Awards Judge Sue Rowlands, Director of Tibbalds Planning & Urban Design Ltd, said:

“I was particularly impressed with the way that Rowlinson engages with employees across the business. This is particularly so on the shop floor where they share business information to enable people to understand how the business is operating at all levels – there is a really high level of employee engagement which is reflected in their performance.”

Caring for employees is at the centre of Rowlinson’s business strategy, which sits alongside the business being open and transparent evidenced by operational and strategic briefings for everyone to make it clear how they can contribute to success, and share in the profits.

And the results speak for themselves; a Gold Investors in People award for the second year running; a 100% staff satisfaction rating; being ranked as the 23rd in the Great Places to Work index; and an increase in customer satisfaction up from 57% to 98%

In addition, the business financial performance has seen an increase in revenue of 20% and in profits by 15%

The business has also made a multi-million pound investment which will see it move into new  first class warehouse facilities and offices that provide a collaborative and customer-focused environment.

UK Employee Ownership Awards Judge Simon Holman, Partner, Castlefield Partners Limited:

“You get a real sense of how they have improved all areas of the business, including employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and financial performance. In fact their employee satisfaction has reached 100% which is frankly something that we would all like to emulate and so this entry really stands out.”