Just five benefits of employee ownership (to businesses)

As our countdown to Employee Ownership Day (28 June 2019) continues, here are five ways employee ownership benefits companies

By Tim Gibson

Let’s get this out of the way right at the start of our countdown to this Friday’s Employee Ownership Day: making the switch in ownership model isn’t an act of charity.

    Companies that choose to transfer ownership to employees are motivated by commercial interest as much as altruism.  

Companies that choose to transfer ownership to employees are motivated by commercial interest as much as altruism. If it didn’t make good business sense, nobody would bother.

But it does make sense, as we know. Which is why a growing number of high-profile businesses are making the move, joining the likes of Richer Sounds and the John Lewis Partnership in giving shares and control to their workforce.

There are clear advantages available to a business from handing ownership to staff. Here are just five of the most striking.

1. A more engaged workforce

The Employee Ownership Association is very clear: “…co-owned businesses tend to be more successful, competitive, profitable and sustainable.”

This is partly to do with the sorts of companies that make the change in ownership structure, of course. Businesses like Richer Sounds and Just Recruitment Group have long been committed to their people, and to delivering the highest levels of customer service. So employee ownership probably appeals to them more in the first place than some other businesses.

Even so, there is a clear link between the competitive edge gained by co-ownership and the empowerment of staff that results from it.

Put simply, by giving employees a stake in the business, you engage them in a fresh way. Work is no longer just a job. In effect, they’re running their own enterprise, which means every wasted resource or sales lead that isn’t pursued has a direct impact on their bottom line.

Moreover, as Just Recruitment’s founder Jenny Wrightson has discovered, by transferring ownership, you show staff how much they’re valued. That gives them greater self-belief and a renewed emotional investment in the company they work for.

2. Better staff retention

The second benefit follows the first: a more engaged workforce is also likely to be one that hangs around, as this study from the US makes plain.

Think about it: if you work for a company in which you own a stake, the thought of moving to another employer with a more conventional owner-worker relationship will seem unappealing. You’ll be back to a context where no matter how hard you work, the rewards remain the same. Where you don’t have a say in the future of the company. Where it doesn’t matter if you pull a sickie, because someone else will take up the slack.

    ...there’s a real feeling that everyone’s in it together, they feel a far greater commitment to their colleagues.  

Compare that to the average employee-owned business and you’ll immediately see why staff choose to hang about. The more they put in, the more they get out. And, because there’s a real feeling that everyone’s in it together, they feel a far greater commitment to their colleagues.

Employee ownership gives staff an emotional and financial stake in their business. It entwines their destiny with the company, and with their co-workers. Who would choose to turn their back on that?

3. Higher productivity, better margins

According to The American Management Association, staff in employee-owned companies are more likely to over-deliver, and to maximise efficiency.

They make a point of turning lights off when they’re not needed, for example. They stay late to brainstorm ways of preventing waste. They go the extra mile for customers, secure in the knowledge that the success of their business relates directly to their personal success.

In short, employee ownership drives better productivity and enhances profit margins. It makes businesses better, in every way, and gives employees a share of the success.

4. A longer-term outlook

As Just Recruitment Group has found, employee ownership encourages the next generation of business leaders to step up and develop their skills.

“We’ve found that our managers are taking a more direct hand in business planning,” says Peter Foy, the Just Recruitment Director who spearheaded its move to co-ownership in December 2017. “They see that the future is in their hands, that they are the ones who will lead the company in the years to come.

“That gives them a real incentive to up-skill, so that, when the time comes, they can drive the business to future success – and, crucially, share the spoils with all of their colleagues. As a result, everyone is more committed to success in the long term. Quick wins are eschewed for the sake of careful, sustainable business planning.”

5. An exit strategy for company owners

On a related note, Mr Foy says that employee ownership provides a way for company founders and owners to hand over the reins, without simply selling to a competitor or unknown investor.

“Since 2010, the UK government has recognised the benefits of employee ownership, and set up fiscal incentives for company owners to sell shares to their staff,” he reports. “That has helped drive interest in employee ownership, which partly explains why the number of businesses pursuing it is growing.

“But there’s more to it than finances. In the case of Just Recruitment, for example, Jenny was keen to keep the brand alive, and to honour the culture that has defined her company for the last 36 years. Rather than selling up to a stranger, she’s passed the company on to the people who are its essence. They can help it flourish for the next phase of its life, keeping her legacy alive but allowing her to enjoy the fruits of her lifelong labour to build a hugely successful company.

“That’s a benefit of employee ownership which is often overlooked,” Mr Foy concludes. “Yes, it’s altruistic and the mark of a caring employer. But it’s also a smart business move. The two things go hand in hand.”

Published: 24 June 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like: Employee Ownership Day 28.09.19: the countdown begins

You may also enjoy: Hi-Fi founder gives staff a richer future

Jobs currently available

New job
Goods In and Despatch Person
Sector: Warehouse
Salary: £10.00 - £11.00 per hour
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909243
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a goods in and despatch person with some QC experience on behalf of a company based in Colchester.

You will be responsible for booking in and booking out all deliveries for the company. Competent skills in use of computers and Excel is essential for this position.


To assist the two Production Managers with the coordination and control of all goods in and out process, for all departments. Excellent communication between departments is necessary.


  • Oversee all goods arriving and being despatched from the factory in an orderly manner
  • Quality control of all products leaving and entering the factory from finishers or being sent directly to clients
  • Compiling pallets lists using Excel
  • Keep the despatch list up to date for purchasing and sales information
  • Collate all the delivery notes for the purchasing dept to collect and check them against the purchase order and mark that they have arrived


  • Meticulous attention to detail, alongside a high level of accuracy
  • Keeping work area clean and tidy
  • Self-motivated
  • Good time management skills with the ability to prioritise simultaneous multiple tasks
  • Ability to read CAD drawings desirable but not essential
  • Forklift licence preferred
Read more
New job
Machine Operator/Assembler
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £18,000 - £20,000 per annum
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909240
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for a Machine Operator/Assembler for a client based on the outskirts of Sudbury.

The role will involve the following skills:

  • Assembly of timber staircases from in-house manufactured components.
  • Working to daily/weekly deadlines.
  • Assisting with machining standard parts for staircase assembly.
  • Assisting team with loading and despatching finished goods and making the necessary despatch records.
  • Use of a variety of hand and power tools including power screw drivers and nail guns.
  • Application of specialist adhesives.
  • The use of special stair press, squares and other measuring tools to ensure that products are put together accurately and consistently.
  • Machine setting: loading of cutting tools to magazine and placing work holding equipment on machine bed.
  • Loading of work-piece blanks to machine table using laser alignment system or other stop/location devices where necessary.
  • Machine operation: Exercising awareness whilst machines are ‘in cycle’, clearing of waste and offcuts and remaining watchful for other employees approaching the area where the machines are in ‘automatic operation’.

In addition, candidates should be:

  • Physically fit and be able to carry out this task across the entire working day.
  • Able to lift and carry parts and materials and be experienced in group lifting activities when the need arises.
  • Comfortable with handling workshop documentation, adhering to established works procedures and eventual involvement in computer-based data entry.
  • Have a familiarity with timber machining and how cutter rotation, in and out paths can Additional skills in first aid, H&S, manual handling (maybe with supporting vocational qualifications) or fork truck driving will also be noted.
  • Reading component data from workshop documentation including drawings and cutting lists.
  • Carrying out daily/weekly/monthly maintenance and cleaning of machinery to keep in good working order.
  • Any candidate who has had prior experience of CNC machining of timber components will be of interest

Monday to Friday 8am-4.30pm

Free Parking

20 days plus bank holidays

Standard gov pension scheme.

Read more
New job
Sales Executive £40k OTE plus Company Car
Sector: Sales
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 906139
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be representing a company based on the outskirts of Colchester, they are looking for a new member of the sales team. 

Are you a driven sales person looking for a new business role? 

Would you like to self manage your day, drive your own leads and develop new business? 

Would you like to work in a role where you have autonomy? 

The package offered includes a basic salary and commission, this is uncapped and the average sales person is earning in excess of £40k.

As well as a good financial package you will have 20 days holiday plus bank holidays, staff benefits, an excellent working environment and the opportunity to progress. 

You will also have a fully expensed company car! 

Your normal working hours will be Monday to Friday 9 - 5:30 but this role does require some travel and 1 night away away from home (Thursday night - fully expensed and meals included)

You must possess the following skills and attributes:

  • Excellent communications skills.
  • Be able to communicate at all levels as you will need to deliver information to stakeholders.
  • Excellent IT skills.
  • A real desire to be successful.
  • Outgoing, bright personality.
  • It would be beneficial to have but not essential.
  • Sales experience.

This is an excellent opportunity to build a successful career, its all about you!

Please note that due to the nature of the role and travel required you must have a full clean driving licence and be prepared to stay away from home 1 night a week (Thursday). 

Read more
New job
Payroll Assistant
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £19,000 - £23,000 per annum
Location: Norfolk – Norwich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909231
About the role

Our client, a leading independent accountancy firm are looking to recruit a Payroll Administrator to join their practice in Norfolk

This role may be suitable for you if you have previously been involved in the preparation of payrolls (ideally within a bureau environment) and if you have a keen interest in further developing your skills and becoming part of a busy payroll bureau.

The available position is working within the Business and Private Team in the payroll bureau, assisting with the processing of client payrolls which vary in frequency (weekly, monthly, 2/4 weekly) and in size (1 to 100+ employees). 

You will have the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of the payroll function and will have the potential to progress with increased responsibility for clients. We are looking for a candidate with good communication skills, who enjoys working as part of a team, has the ability to organise their workload and an appetite for learning and development.

Addresses, discusses and advances conclusion in respect of technical and audit issues identified during the course of the audit

Controls the audit in relation to timescales, budgets and risk managements procedures

Provides feedback through regular communication and timely assignment appraisal

To be conserved for the role you will have:

  • SAGE and / or Payroll Professional (formerly known as Star) experience.
  • Xero / Quickbooks payroll experience.
  • Background in working in a payroll bureau environment
Read more
New job
Grinding Operator - Days
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Braintree
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909224
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a GRINDING OPERATIVE for their client based in Braintree, Essex.

This is a rewarding role and will appeal particularly to applicants who have basic cylindrical grinding experience and who thrive on challenges.

This role is varied with opportunities to enhance exiting skills and learn new, training will be provided as required.


  • Experience of precision or Tool room grinding.
  • Knowledge of cylindrical grinding principles.
  • Proven engineering background in a similar environment.
  • Willingness and ability to work as part of a team.
  • Must be physically fit as repetitive lifting/moving is required.


  • Ideally similar background in manufacturing, production and grinding-based roles, would be advantageous but not essential.
  • Use of pre-set meters and gauges to check conformity of product.
  • A willingness to learn and constantly improve.
  • Good team worker.

Hours of Work:

Day Shift:

  • Monday – Thursday: 7.30am – 16.00pm.
  • Friday: 7.30am – 15.00pm 39 hours per week.

Additional hours at overtime rate are available to suit business demands.

Read more
Account Manager
Sector: Sales
Salary: Up to £22,000 per annum
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909214
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for an Account Manager to join their client, a well regarded organisation based on the outskirts of Colchester looking to add an Account Manager to their highly successful team.

Offering an excellent package and great working environment, this is a great opportunity to join a company that rewards hard work and dedication.

The key purpose of this role is to effectively manage, oversee and organize interactions between our customers and the organization throughout the customer life cycle.

You will optimize interactions from the customer’s perspective, and as a result, foster customer loyalty and advocacy.

You are responsible for managing excellent communication and interactions between customers and the company, providing a high quality of customer service which increases the company’s reputation leading to increased sales and improved business performance.

Key duties include but are not limited to the following:

  • Duties will include preparing quotations, processing orders, handling enquiries via incoming calls, updating customer accounts and dealing with correspondence.
  • To provide the first line of contact for all incoming calls to the business, ensuring calls are handled in a professional and helpful manner.
  • Process both telephone and email enquiries with speed and accuracy, ensuring customers are made aware of all relevant information.
  • Ensure all customer contacts, sales and service issues are resolved to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction, balanced against commercial viability.
  • The ability to generate additional sales through the conversion of quotations, upsell products, and promotional selling and proactive calls.
  • To optimize every opportunity within all areas of the sales department to ensure individual KPI targets are consistently met, and contribute towards team, and company objectives.
  • Arranging PDF artwork Visuals & samples.
  • Following up on samples.
  • Converting quotes into orders.
  • Checking stock levels.
  • Checking deadlines can be met by suppliers.
  • Creating electronic files to store client’s information regarding the order.
  • Entering the correct data onto the system which accurately reflects the status of orders.
  • Liaising with clients and making them aware of the order progress.
  • Checking on order status to ensure smooth running of orders to avoid any issues.

Attributes needed for this role are:

  • Excellent Organization skills.
  • Good communication skills and excellent attention to detail.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced office environment.
  • Equipped to work as a team player as well as an individual.
  • Experienced at working towards targets/KPI’s.
  • Computer literacy and keyboard skills essential.


Read more