Becoming Employee Owned

Employee ownership is a highly effective ownership model, which works anywhere in the world and there is plenty of evidence to show that it can boost profitability, productivity, innovation, job security and employee wellbeing.

(See Employee Ownership Association, Cass Business School, White Rose University Consortium for evidence.)

Employee ownership can be implemented relatively easily and can be tailored to the needs of any organisation. It works across a range of sectors and at any stage in the life of a business, from start-up businesses, through to established companies dealing with owner/manager exits and succession planning.

The Employee Ownership Association has produced two very informative booklets on employee ownership; Employee Ownership: How to Get Started and Employee Ownership: Impact Report. Both of these can be downloaded from the EOA website,

Employee Ownership is a good option in any of the following scenarios:

Business succession or ownership succession – private owners, entrepreneurs or heads of family businesses, decide to sell to their valued workforce. This is the most typical route into employee ownership

Owner vision – as in the case of John Lewis, Arup Group or Scott Bader, the founder of a business opts for employee ownership

Professional partnerships – partners decide to broaden ownership and offer it to all employees, reflecting the need to attract, retain and motivate talented people

Insolvency or closure threat – employee buy–outs can prove an effective route to recovery for businesses that might otherwise fail

Independence – companies may decide that significant and even majority employee participation will protect the company’s independence

Privatisation – bus services and other privatisations have provided occasional opportunities for employee buy-outs

There are usually three share ownership options to consider when looking at employee ownership:

Direct OwnershipIndirect OwnershipHybrid Ownership