Hi-Fi founder gives staff a richer future

The founder of Richer Sounds is celebrating his 60th birthday by turning the company into an Employee Ownership Trust

By Jenny Wrightson, founder and managing director, Just Recruitment Group Ltd

The founder and managing director of Richer Sounds has announced that he is giving 60 per cent of the company to his employees.

Julian Richer, who founded the business in 1978 at the age of 19, said that the time was right to establish an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) and pass control to its workforce.

    ...Mr Richer announced that he would share a large portion of the £9.2m windfall he stands to receive from the transfer.  

In a further act of goodwill, Mr Richer announced that he would share a large portion of the £9.2m windfall he stands to receive from the transfer.

Each member of the Richer Sounds team will receive £1,000 for every year spent with the company. For the average employee, that equates to a gift of £8,000, but The Guardian reports that some staff will receive as much as £20,000.

Talking about his reasons for the move, Mr Richer said that turning 60 was a major motivator. His father died at that age, and the entrepreneur wants to establish a new ownership structure for his company in good time.

As well as their altruistic character, Employee Ownership Trusts bring a number of benefits to businesses. According to the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), around 350 companies in the UK have adopted the structure, with 50 more expected to convert soon.

As a result, they benefit from more engaged staff, improved productivity and better employee retention.

This is certainly what we’ve experienced at Just Recruitment since becoming an EOT in December 2017. Our staff now have a genuine stake in the business. Its success is their success, and they feel as if they can shape the future.

For us, the move to employee ownership felt entirely natural. I founded the company in 1983 and have thoroughly enjoyed leading it through nearly four decades of growth.

But it’s always been the case that Just Recruitment’s people are instrumental to its success. Even before we became an EOT, they committed to achieving our goals and establishing a thriving business throughout East Anglia.

For me, then, employee ownership was as much about rewarding loyalty as inspiring employees for the future. It looks like Julian Richer feels the same: he’s always prided himself on having a happy team, where people feel valued and well cared for. Transferring ownership of his business to his staff is a logical next step.

    If you have a business that depends on the commitment and dedication of your people, it pays to show them that they are valued.  

With 53 stores and annual sales of nearly £200m, Richer Sounds is already a thriving concern. It has successfully bucked the trend towards online retail and puts great stock on the power of a face-to-face encounter with customers.

That is why the company has always looked after its staff, as we have always tried to do at Just Recruitment. If you have a business that depends on the commitment and dedication of your people, it pays to show them that they are valued. As well as being the right thing to do, it makes good business sense.

Employee ownership enshrines the right sort of relationship between an employer and their staff. It shows that a company’s success is a shared endeavour, by giving its people a direct stake. They can influence its destiny and benefit from its achievements.

I greatly look forward to seeing how Richer Sounds develops in the years ahead, as a high-profile model of employee ownership. If Mr Richer’s experience of handing over control to his team is anything like mine, he’ll be in for an inspiring, rejuvenating and empowering time.

Published: 22 May 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you liked this article, you may enjoy: Acknowledging that a child has grown up is never easy

You may also want to read: What place does ethics have in business?

Jobs currently available

New job
Electrical Wireman
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Braintree
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910175
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Electrical Wire person on behalf of a company based in Braintree, Essex.

The role will involve mechanical and electrical assembly, wire and electrically test distribution and MCCB boards, cabinets and cable harnesses. The role also has the potential for new product development by building prototype boards and testing boards before product launch.

Duties:

  • Build and test distribution and MCCB panels to the standards specified by the latest electrical regulations: BS EN 61439 and BS7671 including energy metering and surge suppression devices.
  • Read, understand and work from technical electrical CAD drawings and wiring diagrams.
  • To pick and check all component quantity and quality before each job.
  • To build and assemble wiring loom kits using a variety of cable crimp hand tools.
  • Electrical testing, fault finding and resolution.
  • Production of Test Certificates.
  • To work using own initiative with limited supervision.
  • Maintain manufacturing records including: copy test certification, wiring diagrams, layout drawings and production sheets.

Requirements:

  • Previous strong experience in Low Voltage panel building environment.
  • Knowledge of metering requirements and installation.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Flash Testing Certified.
Read more
Graphic Designer
Sector: Marketing, Advertising and PR
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910168
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Graphic Designer on behalf of a company based in Colchester, Essex.

They are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled Graphic Designer to join their team.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join an exciting company as they rapidly expand nationwide.

Duties will include:

  • Designing and producing marketing material for nine businesses across the UK
  • Each business has their own distinct brand identity, so you must be willing to adapt as the situation demands
  • Manage the production of their 300 page brochure
  • Design other promotional material; for example posters and flyers; for use in their sites
  • Liaising with 3rd parties to design and produce physical promotional materials
  • Negotiating prices
  • Experience with website design is preferable
  • Experience with running business social media accounts also preferable

Experience in a similar role or relevant qualification is a must for this opportunity

  • Relevant extensive experience in design programs - for example, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver - is required
Read more
Designer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: discussed on application
Location: Chelmsford, South Woodham Ferrers
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910167
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Designer on behalf of a company based near South Woodham Ferrers.

This is a fantastic opportunity if you have a Product Design background and can offer Retail or POS Design experience.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Create new products, including 3D designs, prototyping and testing
  • Execute robust design process and continuous improvement
  • Take client brief either from Account Manager or Client
  • Time management and planning workload with Head of Design
  • A ‘can do’ attitude

Qualifications:

  • Excellent level of knowledge using SolidWorks
  • Good level of knowledge using Adobe Suite
  • Experience with the POS sector would be advantageous
  • Product Design degree would be preferred
  • Good problems solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good Word & Excel skills
Read more
Administrator
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Salary: £16,500 - £17,000 per annum
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910164
About the role

Just Recruitment is working with one of Suffolk’s most promising mortgage companies. Established in 2014, this company is looking to take on a skilled Administrator to support its rapid expansion.

Your duties will include:

  • Supporting the mortgage brokers in their day-to-day activities
  • Electronic Filing and record-keeping
  • Checking and submitting mortgage applications
  • Progressing cases
  • Speaking to members of the public, both in-person and over the phone

Ideally, you will:

  • Have experience in an administrative role
  • Possess an excellent telephone manner
  • Be diligent and detail-oriented
  • Be highly computer literate, including familiarity with Microsoft Packages
  • Have a great sense of humour

Working hours:

35 per week – Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm, with an hour off for lunch

Read more