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Celebrating Employee Ownership – why make the move?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Today, the Employee Ownership Association celebrates its 11th annual Employee Ownership Day.  In keeping with the spirit of the day, I wanted to talk about employee ownership and the impact that it can have on your business.

Fundamentally, giving employees a stake in your business, however, big or small, can have a significant impact on employee engagement. In an employee driven market where it’s become the norm to move position every few years, many have questioned what inspires loyalty, commitment, and engagement from your employees.

Working environment, culture, and aligned values do play a large part in retention. But giving employees a voice and giving them a chance to benefit from the profitability of the Company, can have a significant impact on retention.

There are many different models for employee ownership including giving direct shares or options (such as EMI Options), Employee Benefit Trusts, and Employee Ownership Trusts.

Each of these has varying degrees of commitment to employees, which in turn means there are varying degrees of impact. Moving to a true co-ownership model (such as establishing an EOT) can seem daunting, but it can also reap the largest rewards. Not only may you be able to sell shares in the Company for full market value, but you may find you:-

  • Motivate your employees
  • Inspire entrepreneurs
  • Build a sustainable business

Where a business is substantively owned by the people who work in it, there is a new level of commitment not only to corporate social responsibility on the whole but commitment from the employees who stand to benefit from its ongoing and future success.

Employee owned businesses aren’t a ‘new thing’ but have been established for some time as successful and sustainable business models. There are countless examples of employee owned businesses, big and small, across a range of sectors.

If you want to talk more about employee ownership and the legal aspects of the various models available, please do speak with me or one of the Legal 500 recognised teams at Wilson Browne.  We would be happy to support you and your business in considering this move. #allthehelpyouneed!

Holly Threlfall


Holly Threlfall


Holly is a Partner and Head of our Company & Commercial Team. She has experience of dealing with companies of all sizes, owner managed businesses, SMEs, Private Limited Companies, partnerships and charities.