As soon as I joined Team about 5 years ago, I was struck by the amount of trust given to each individual employee. It hasn’t changed even now, despite the business more than doubling in size, recently passing the milestone of 100 employees. People are trusted and given freedom to use their judgement, they aren’t encumbered by complex metrics or targets, and yet they all strive to deliver work of the highest standard.
It creates a feeling of unity, of all being in it together, and it makes us the masters of our own destiny.
This was something I hadn’t experienced before. To begin with I worried that a lack of pressure on individuals would result in mediocre commercial performance, but the business just kept growing year on year.
Rather than creating a metric-driven environment, what Team had cultivated was a group that truly cared about what they did, cared about being transparent with clients and enjoyed a supportive working culture. This culture was very firmly established and carefully curated.
In December 2016, Team transferred into employee trust ownership. The model is much like the John Lewis partnership – there are no external shareholders who demand growth at all costs without really understanding the business. Instead, every employee is effectively an owner and partner. It’s great. And on Friday June 30th, we’ll be celebrating this as members of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA).
As equal owners, it creates a feeling of unity, of all being in it together, and it makes us the masters of our own destiny. We can do what makes sense for the business and, more importantly, for our clients.
There are lots of benefits to being an employee-owned business, not least that we all share in the profits. Personally I take most satisfaction from the freedom to always be open and honest with the companies we deal with.
Our thought process and dialog can always be “How can we best help them?” and doesn’t have to be “What is the most profitable option?”. This in turn helps build up trust which just makes the process of working with our clients more fun and more productive for everyone. It’s good.
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