CMC – Our EO Story: Embedding our employee-centric culture into our EOT

As a small, people-focussed management consultancy company, CMC has always had a high level of engagement with our employees. Everyone knew one another, and many of us had worked together for years.

Becoming employee owned has further strengthened our foundations. We have been able to safeguard all our values and ensure that we live by our ethos of putting people at the heart of what we do.

We became an EOT on 1st February 2021, a bold step for a company which had flourished over 20 years of private ownership. Celebrating the day with individual commemorative bottles of champagne, all our employees moved to being equal partners of the business, eager to embrace the future.

Engagement had started prior to our EOT foundation day – opening communications with an impassioned speech to all our staff by our founders announcing the intention and reasons to become employee owned.

This announcement explained the importance of our move into employee ownership, and the recognition of the fact that EO felt in harmony with our current culture.  A culture which is based on a foundation of our four values of ‘integrity, curiosity, togetherness and respect’, and underpins everything we strive for as an EO company.

Our employee ownership and benefits

Transparency and trust have been key. Since becoming an EOT, we have established an engaged and active Trustee Board, with two employee trustees working with partners through regular sessions to discuss key topics. This has provided the opportunity for partners to engage, ask questions, voice any concerns and suggest improvements.

We have created a ‘Partner Page’ dedicated SharePoint site where partners can make suggestions anonymously to the Trustee Board. This provides a safe space to suggest ways in which we can work together to improve our business.

With our Partner SharePoint site and regular opportunities for partners to meet with our employee trustees, we ensure every partner can have their voice heard and find the best way in which to communicate, engage and respond to factors impacting our business, outside the normal management chain.

We promote transparency of our business information – publishing relevant monthly business metrics reflecting the health of our business to all partners. Examples of relevant EOT information include Trustee Board actions, further information of the roles and responsibilities of our Trustee Board, communications and internal presentations from partners.

We continue to provide transparency in the continuous development of the company, such as through strategy and vision meetings and internal working groups. Inviting Partners to be a part of the future progression of the company has seen the benefits of diversity of thought, increased engagement, and the increased passion from our partners to be an intrinsic part of our success.

We have recently focussed on what our partners value most in working for CMC. We have seen a fantastic variety of responses demonstrating how value means something different to everyone at CMC. This individuality creates our unique culture.

Our Partners are committed, collaborative and always curious; through the progression of the EOT over the past two years, this has been evident in the feedback we receive from our clients. This highlights not only our partners’ collaborative nature, but also the insightful way in which we deliver our work.

The importance of employee voice to embedding our culture and achieving our goals

CMC now feels a lot more open; everyone is provided with the information to help them understand the business, in both financial and other ways. Wellbeing, inclusion, carbon neutrality and psychological safety are all topics which we discuss openly and invest in.

Our culture reinforces our strategy, which in turn keeps us moving forward, and supports our continued growth, focus and success as both an EOT and a business.

We are still on our journey of employee ownership and continue to listen to our partners and reflect on any learnings for improvement. We also continue to celebrate the culture we have built and look forward to seeing this grow alongside the development of being employee owned.

We ensure we all meet regularly, even if this is just virtually – but increasingly this is becoming in person (post-Covid). Our monthly, all-partner calls keep everyone up to date and brings everyone together. Our quarterly meetings (attended both in person and remotely) are rotated around our three key sites, bringing together people in person where practical.

The business element is followed by social events to help ensure a closeness between our partners – building both trust and support networks. Weekly virtual coffee catch-ups, either on general topics or focussed on a wellbeing or ED&I topic, help to maintain social bonds.

Empowering our Partners has always been at the forefront of our business, such as through providing opportunities to carve out their own careers, raise suggestions to our management board, or be part of growing our business success.

Maintaining and flourishing a culture that nourishes the empowerment of our partners is integral to the continued success of the EOT, and we will continue to nurture this amongst all our partners.

We have seen our journey to an EOT provide some real, tangible benefits to the business, including attracting new people who recognise and appreciate becoming part of an EOT. Our retention of people has improved, and our annual partner survey results indicate an impressive continuing trend of improvement.

Just over a year in to being an EOT, we are still understanding what this means for CMC, but with superb employees, and a strong collaborative culture we see a very bright future for the business and all our partners.

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