Environet UK – Our EO Story: Reform of leadership behind our big transformation

Environet UK are leaders in the effective management and removal of invasive plants through eco-innovation. We’re located in Woking, Surrey, with 24 employee owners (and three knotweed detection dogs!)

Since transferring ownership of Environet to an EOT almost two years ago, our business has nearly doubled. Never before have we been so efficient and profitable, but most importantly, we have a fully motivated and engaged workforce and our highest ever TrustPilot rating of 4.9 stars.

Behind this transformation is a reform of our leadership and operating structure, giving significantly more responsibility to staff and supporting them as they flourish in their new roles.

Profitability, of course, brings benefit to all our staff as owners, but we now measure success in an entirely different way. Are our staff happy and engaged? Are our customers enjoying a positive experience and leaving us excellent reviews? By getting these parts right, increased prosperity has naturally followed.

Benefits of empowering our team

 In doing away with geographical divisions and introducing a new, flatter structure, we’ve given clear roles and new responsibility to all our staff in areas such as marketing, sales and operations – and empowered our team to contribute to different disciplines including HR, IT, compliance and procedures.

Everyone is now working towards a common goal and purpose with a strong sense of accountability, which is having a positive effect on every element of our business.

Innovation has been a bigger focus than ever before since our staff took a stake. Nobody is content with simply doing a good job; we’re all looking for ways to gain a competitive edge and at the same time limit our impact on the environment and contribute positively to our local community.

We’ve led our sector by being the first invasive plant specialist to bring Japanese knotweed detection dog surveys to the market, using three highly trained sniffer dogs to detect knotweed rhizome where it might not be visible above ground, bringing greater clarity and certainty to our customers.

As part of a team building day with a local conservation charity, our staff have been out and about in the Surrey Hills planting native hedgerows to provide shelter belts that offer protection to crops and wildlife, reduce soil erosion and create new wildlife corridors for animals and birds, with several team members commenting that it felt good to be planting plants for once, rather than removing them!

Pride and determination

Transforming our leadership and operating structure has meant staff feel a renewed sense of pride in the business and a determination to not just contribute new ideas, but personally see them through to fruition.

As our team continue to look for new ways to reduce the waste we produce, we’ve set up a bamboo donation programme enabling us to donate bamboo excavated from customers’ homes to zoos and wildlife parks across the country, helping feed resident red pandas.

We’ve also developed and patented a new method of turning plant waste into biochar, reducing landfill use and locking the carbon scavenged by the plant away for thousands of years.

Eco innovations such as these have been inspired by a review of our purpose and ethos, undertaken by our entire team, helping us define why we’re here and how we can best serve our customers, community and the environment.

Ensuring every member of our team has a voice and encouraging them to use it has been a big focus over the last two years, and a major benefit of our EOT structure is that it provides a clear route for communication of ideas and suggestions that help us do better.

These include employee wellbeing initiatives, social events that make Environet a fun place to work, new ways of driving efficiency in our business and new divisions of responsibility that empower staff and give them greater opportunity to learn and progress.

Never before have we had such a happy and motivated team. Employee ownership is without doubt a major factor in the company’s growth and success.

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