Employee Ownership Day 2018: June highlights, picnic in the park and world-class football

29 June 2018

Employee Ownership Day 2018: June highlights, picnic in the park and world-class football

This year, we celebrated a day early by taking advantage of the sunny weather and having a post-work picnic in the park by our offices. Despite England playing Belgium in the World Cup on the same evening (rookie logistical mistake), we had a pretty good turnout - goes to show how much our members love employee ownership. It’s one of the reasons our own Lucy Farrow was named Employee Owner of the Year in March this year.

In all fairness, our picnic wasn’t just a symbolic celebration of employee ownership. The timing of EO day was perfect this year and allowed us to also celebrate a very positive couple of months for our business. Through our EO structure, all members are aware of our progress towards our business plan goals, and so we celebrated our commercial success together.

June seems to be an important time for employee-owned businesses. Earlier this month, many of us had the opportunity to meet and share our experiences at the EOA Regional Networking meeting. Our Chair Trustee found it fascinating to meet representatives from John Lewis and learn about their business model. She hosted a brief informal discussion about ways to support colleagues to wear the different “hats” that employee ownership requires and reported how useful and refreshing it was to discuss common challenges with peers.  

This networking event was shortly followed by the EOA Summer dinner at the Palace of Westminster. After going through an airport-style security check and (successfully) refraining from taking any pictures inside the Palace, we were ushered to the reception area of the House of Commons, where drinks were waiting to quench our thirst and peers were ready to mingle. We took the best part of an hour to share snapshots of what it’s like to work in or manage an employee-owned business. We also talked a lot about cake, an inevitable occurrence when you speak to members of Konditor & Cook, who happen to be your favourite bakery down the road. Turns out, their mission is to spread happiness through cake, and Traverse have definitely been helping them do that in the past few years – no celebration is complete without a Konditor & Cook treat (should be our slogan). And who knows, maybe we’ll soon be sharing more insights about our EO successes and challenges over a slice of Curly Whirly.

After drinks, we moved into the adjoining Members Dining Room, where we savoured a lavish 3-course dinner and enjoyed perfectly-timed speeches given by the organisers and the keynote speaker, ResPublica’s Philip Blond. His reflections on the role of employee ownership in helping solve some of UK’s enduring social and economic issues were thought-provoking. While his support of the sector was abundant, he passionately urged all of us to question the limited progress we had made in spreading awareness and evidencing our impact and come up with a collective action plan. A fair point.

Luckily for us, we were just about to get a few exclusive updates on a very interesting national inquiry launched in 2017 to study The Ownership Effect. Led by the EOA with support from industry and academic partners as well as Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsted, the inquiry results outline the benefits of employee-owned models on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. The study makes a compelling case for rolling out the model and provides actionable recommendations not just for EO businesses, but also for the government, industry bodies, education providers and financial institutions.

The full report is hot off the press, having been published on June 27th, and can be read here. We’ll take our time to go through the details of its findings and mull over our impact on our members, the sector, as not least, our clients

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