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Employee Ownership – The employee perspective


Employee Ownership – The employee perspective

By , July 24, 2020

Did you work in another company before you built your business?  Dream of going out on your own?  Imagine escaping the corporate mindset, for instance? Did you have a terrible boss and promise yourself that you’d never be like that?  Was there any form of employee share ownership?

Are your employees in the same place?  What are they thinking, and how do you know?

We hear business owners say “No one cares about my business like I do”. There is a simple solution.  Treat employees with more trust and transparency and you’ll see them think and act like owners.  Whilst it’s simple to say, it is not so easy to implement.

Employee Share Ownership Plans – Changing Mindset

Employee Share Ownership Plans allow employees to own a form of equity in their company. The intention is that they will think and act like business owners.  Because it creates an incentive structure which aligns employees’ lifestyle and financial goals with business objectives. The result is a cohesive and committed team, who are all working toward and sharing the benefits of a successful and profitable business.

Employee owned companies improve performance. They generate higher profits.  They experience better staff retention than other businesses. It leads to attracting and retaining customers.  It is a major source of competitive advantage.  This is often the difference between success and failure.

Imagine if your employees were as focused, driven, and as motivated about your business as you are.   What if they came up with new ideas and cost savings? How about if they were as interested in profit as you?

This happens with businesses that use Employee Share Ownership Plans.

Employee Share Ownership Plans are a great way to:

  • Attract, keep and motivate key employees
  • Improve business performance — profitability, staff retention, productivity
  • Build an internal succession plan for staff and business owners.

“Employee ownership is a different way of thinking about business. It targets long-term sustainability by recognising that employee/owners are more committed to developing innovative products and processes. The result is competitive advantage and lasting success, in good times and bad.”

— Sir Stuart Hampson, former Chair of the John Lewis Partnership (the largest Employee Share Ownership Plan in the world with over 80,000 employees in the plan)

And the benefits?

  • increased sales
  • reduced staff turnover
  • higher sales per employee

Ladder to Equity

Giving away equity is not simple or smart.   There are several methods available to UK business owners that also come with tax benefits for both the business owner and employees.

Research shows an increase in employees looking for equity in the business they work for.  According to recent UK and USA statistics, over 30% of employees have equity interest in the business they work for.  This gives great benefits to SME’s because having employees motivated to think and act like business owners builds value.

As Warren Buffet says “Employees are keen to climb the ladder to equity. But someone needs to provide the ladder.”

When a business owner shows the employees how they can benefit from the increase in profitability and capital value of the business, they see a step up in performance and attitude.  It’s not “giving it away”.  It’s sharing part of something that is bigger because everyone is part of it.  Employees feel more valued when they are part of the rewards of their labours.  Having clarity on what they need to do to improve value leads to the actions necessary to achieve the outcomes.

Transparency and Consistency

Sharing long term goals and vision with everyone is a scary notion because you have to make it public.  Plans that have remained in the business owners head have to be exposed.  Often this is the first time that they have been documented.

It is easier to work towards the goals because actions are linked to outcomes and rewards.  Transparency of the vision and goals leads to genuine improvement in productivity.  It results in complete alignment of every part of the organisation.  Consistency of leadership fosters greater trust.  Your employees will stick with you through the bad times because they understand what needs to happen to achieve the desired results in the long term.

To find out more:

For more about employee ownership click here to read our e-book “BUILD IT”

Darryl Bates-Brownsword

Darryl Bates-Brownsword

CEO | Succession Plus UK

Darryl is a dynamic, driven Business Mentor and Coach with over 20 years of experience and passion for creating successful outcomes for founder-led businesses. He is a great connector, team builder, problem solver, and inspirer – showing the way through complexity to simplicity.

He has built 2 international multi-million turnover businesses; one now operating in 16 countries. His quick and analytical approach cuts through to the core issues quickly and identifying the context. He challenges the status quo and gets consistent, repeatable and reliable business results.

Originating in Australia, Darryl’s first career was as an Engineer in the Power Industry. Building businesses brought him to the UK in 2003 where he quickly developed a reputation for combining systems thinking with great creativity to get results in challenging situations.

A keen competitive cyclist, he also has a B Eng (Mech) Engineering and an MBA.