UK’s largest employee owned cleaning company CleanTEC becomes Trustee member of the EOA

The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) today welcomes CleanTEC Services Ltd as a Trustee member. 

CleanTEC is the UK’s largest employee owned cleaning company and ranks 15th in the Employee Ownership Top 50, which lists the UK’s largest employee owned businesses by number of employees and is produced annually in collaboration with RM2 Partnership.

The Watford-headquartered cleaning business, which also has a site in Birmingham and operates across the UK, joins other Trustee members of the EOA, including the John Lewis Partnership, Arup, Richer Sounds and Go Ape.

CleanTEC’s founders Chris Rogers, left, and Peter Rochford

Founded by Peter Rochford and Chris Rogers in 2000, CleanTEC has developed a strong reputation and proven expertise within the cleaning services industry, both in the public and private sectors.

Twenty years after setting the business up, Peter and Chris started to think about succession planning and opted against a trade sale to become one of the first cleaning companies in the UK to transition to employee ownership in March 2021.

Managing Director Peter said becoming employee owned means its staff are now recognised as more than just employees, but partners in a business they have been “intrinsic” in helping create and “instrumental” in making a success.

When it announced its transition, CleanTEC said the decision to become EO helped formalise its values, sustain the future of the business, and safeguard its culture.

Peter added: “The purpose of CleanTEC is ‘we care about cleaning and those who work with us’, and that has been myself and Chris’s foundation from day one right through to today.”

The EOA paid a visit to CleanTEC’s headquarters in Watford to meet some of the team

Employee ownership provides ‘lift’

CleanTEC’s EO model is structured with the majority of shares (60%) held in an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), with Peter and Chris still holding 26% of shares and the remaining being held in an Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) as part of the company’s share incentive offering.

As well as the EOT board – which is made up of directors, employees and an independent trustee – CleanTEC also has a voice council on which six employees currently sit to help gather the views of employees in its offices, along with area managers and cleaners who work on sites across the UK.

CleanTEC celebrating EO Day 2023

The business has continued to grow sustainably year on year and now has almost 2,000 employees, with Independent Trustee Pat Brennan adding: “Becoming employee owned has been enormously helpful in helping to win new business, particularly as so many of our clients are in the public sector and they really have an affinity, I think, for businesses that are employee owned.”

This uplift has also been felt among employees, who have “really grasped the EO mantle”.

Company Director and co-founder Chris said: “I’ve enjoyed building CleanTEC all the way through and seeing it from day one to where it is today.

“Becoming employee owned has lifted spirits, people can see what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Like with EO Day recently, you felt the buzz which says to me that this can only get stronger.”

Becoming a trustee ‘marks a development in our confidence’

As part of CleanTEC’s EO journey, the business has now been invited to become a Trustee member at the EOA.

Trustee members are leaders in the employee ownership sector, making unique contributions to the EOA’s work of helping to grow EO through advocacy, profiling and financial support.

James de le Vingne, Chief Executive of the EOA, said: “We are delighted to welcome CleanTEC as a new Trustee member of the EOA. This commitment to being a Trustee member demonstrates the importance the business places on its employee ownership model, as well as aligning itself with our wider mission and beliefs.”

Employees were asked to say what CleanTEC’s values mean to them and these quotes have been put on posters around its office

Pat, who chairs CleanTEC’s EOT board, was the company’s former bank manager from 2011 until he retired from banking in 2020, which coincided with the business becoming employee owned and asking him to come on board as the independent trustee.

“There’s a certain amount of honour attached to becoming a Trustee member of the EOA,” he said. “More importantly, it marks a development in our confidence as an employee owned business that we’re happy to put our head above the parapet and say ‘we’re employee owned, we’re proud of it, and we’re confident to talk about what we’ve done and what’s left to do’.”

As one of the first cleaning companies to become employee owned, co-founder Peter wants to use CleanTEC’s new position as a Trustee member to tell people about its story to encourage other businesses in its sector to consider EO.

He said: “We welcome the opportunity to become a Trustee member to help the EOA educate other companies on how becoming employee owned can make a difference to them. It’s companies like us that are going to send the message out there to say ‘look, this is possible, this is achievable’.”

Related Articles

UK employee owned sector grows by 37% in just 12 months to over 1,400 businesses

How our emerging policy proposals will help the EOA unlock the full potential of #TheEOeffect | CEO blog

View our collection of case studies showcasing the inspiring stories and successes of our EOA members

Learning leadership skills in an employee owned business

Listen to the latest episodes of the EOA Podcast here >>