TateHindle – Our EO Story
Who are we?
TateHindle is a practice of architects and urbanists based in London. We are design custodians for spaces, buildings and communities, with a vision to evolve every place we engage with for the better – for its people and for the planet.
We believe that designing with optimism and innovation can bring about tangible change. By bringing together the best of the past with the hope of the new we can make architecture that works for the present – and remains sustainable well into the future.
We use design to solve non-design problems: we are as much economists, management consultants and negotiators as we are architects. Guided by a deep pool of collective knowledge and a portfolio of many interrelated building types, we use our personal ingenuity to add technical, material, commercial and aesthetic value.
TateHindle was founded in 1992, and 2016 we became an employee-owned trust and now, as a practice of fifty people, we continue to build on these good foundations with imagination because the more we evolve together, the better we become.
Becoming an EOT and suiting the way we work
In 2016, almost 25 years later, we began the process of becoming an Employee-Owned Trust. Our approach is built on trust, and the personal relationships we nurture with our in-house collaborators and well-known clients. With them, we develop well-thought-through, robust ideas that we can all believe in.
As part of the transition to an EOT, we were given the opportunity to realign our company vision as a collective to understand where the business is heading and capture the essence of who we are now. This exercise alongside the business becoming a full EOT has formed a closer understanding of our development journey and has unified us further as a business.
The founders’ intent is that each future generation of leaders at TateHindle will work within the existing environmental, financial and social conditions to leave the practice in a better place, balancing commercial viability with the wellbeing of the employees, and adopting the same values of teamwork, commitment, imagination, fairness and respect.
At TateHindle, we highly value our creative commons – the expertise, spirit and skills we have now shared as a practice for a generation. We continue to build on these good foundations with imagination because the more we evolve together, the better we become.
Since becoming an EOT
The decision to become an EOT builds on the existing culture of the business, reinforcing an optimistic, innovative and collective approach, whilst ensuring its future sustainability.
When Andrew and Jim were seeking a succession strategy, creating an EOT was seen as the best option. The business could continue under its same management structure, protecting the foundations of the business and its core values.
Founding Director, Andrew Tate believes that ‘Listening to our employees helps the board make better informed decisions about important business issues. Placing the shares into trust, on behalf of the employees, also allows everyone a share in the profits – which we believe is a good way to reward our employees, many of whom have been with us for a long time.’
Strengthening our communication between the council and the board has been especially important over the last year whilst working from home. These concerns focused primarily on how we can stay connected and productive.
Together, we have focused on supporting all employees and their mental health whilst we continue to work remotely. We have introduced mental health first aiders and toolkits providing practical tips on how to maintain a work/life place.
Communication between the management team and the employee council allows us to appreciate the day-to-day workload and external pressures the teams are under, allowing us respond quickly and provide supported as needed.
What do our employees think so far?
In becoming an EOT, we have already seen positive feedback and feel that everyone can now play their part in TateHindle’s success, contributing their individual skills and opinions for the benefit of the whole. Some of these thoughts are reflected below, after we asked our employees what ownership meant to them:
“It means having a stake in something and being part of a collective vision.”
“Ownership doesn’t necessarily mean making decisions, but having a feeling of cohesion and belonging across the company – a sense that we are all on the same team. But decisions should be made with employees in mind, and it should be fully explained how those decisions are made.”
“Ownership is something that you invest in, to have a positive return”.
“It means working towards a common goal.”
“Ownership is about being invested in the success of the business. It also means a more democratic process where everyone has a say, rather than ideas always coming from the top of the hierarchy.”
The benefits of becoming an EOT are not just financial. For employees, there are mechanisms for increased engagement – leading to more innovative ideas, increased profitability and a greater shared commitment to the long-term success of the business.
As custodians of the business, employees now hold a central role in the EOT, working together as a team to continue to develop a viable, innovative and resilient practice. A better level of communication has culminated in us becoming a stronger business with defined goals for the future and has given the employees an individual voice and sense of belonging.