Ownership is split into 52% by employees, 24% by our charitable trust and 24% by our founders, the Sawday’s family.
Quite simply, it means that we all get a say in what the company does. We don’t all vote on absolutely every decision, because we’d get nothing done, but when there are big company issues, our Employee Council get input from every member of the team. It helps us retain our values, because we’re not governed by disinterested shareholders or a profit-hungry board.
The split of ownership means that the charitable trust has a share of profits to do its good work, but also that all co-owners, every member of the team, shares in potential dividends, alongside far more important benefits like voting on our impact and the direction of the company.
There are seven members of the Employee Council. We try to make sure they come from all areas of the business, but membership is completely voluntary and open to everyone. The chair of the council sits on the board and the whole council meets with the managing director every month. They discuss any issues raised by co-owners and send an update with any decisions taken, upcoming votes or surveys and news from discussions at all levels of the company.
Employee Ownership has been shown to make a company’s employees more committed to the work it’s doing and therefore happier. People stay in their jobs longer and some reports even say they live longer too. But for us, the most important thing is that it gives everyone a voice, makes us a better place to work and means that we live our values in decisions from minor company policy to major partnerships.