The road to success
Morris Motors was at the forefront of the UK’s automotive sector for much of the twentieth century. But while the Morris badge no longer survives, its founder’s name lives on thanks to his many acts of generosity
By Tim Gibson
In 1892, William Morris opened a bicycle repair shop in his parents’ front room in Cowley St John, Oxford. Few would have predicted that he’d go on to become one of the UK’s most inspiring entrepreneurs. But within just eight years, Morris had expanded his business as well as designing and building a motorcycle. The first motorcar bearing his name appeared 13 years later.
Such a meteoric rise sounds like it came easily when you read about it in the pages of Peter Hull’s brilliantly concise biography of Morris. But of course there were bumps along the way, including disagreements with early business partners, and failed ventures such as his attempt to run a colliery in the Forest of Dean in the late 1920s.
Morris’s success was hard earned. He worked long hours and expected similar dedication from his employees. Despite having a reputation for fairness, reports say he could be short-tempered with colleagues who didn’t see things his way.
For Morris, who became Sir William Morris in 1929 and was awarded a peerage in 1934, Morris Motors Ltd was his life. Its success defined him, not least because the cars his company produced carried his name upon their grille.
That did not make Morris, Lord Nuffield, unwilling to share the spoils of his success. Quite the contrary, in fact: in his lifetime, he gave away an estimated £30 million to a dizzying array of causes, many of which continue to thrive to this day.
In 1936, when Morris Motors was at the height of its success, Nuffield ring fenced £2.25 million in share reserves for his employees. They received a dividend on these shares, meaning the company’s success was also their success.
Lord Nuffield’s generosity could be seen as an early version of employee ownership, where a company’s workforce has a stake in the business. For Nuffield, it was a matter of justice: the share stock was put aside for hourly paid workers, to top up their wages. Salaried staff, meanwhile, benefitted from a contributory pension scheme – something that was by no means common practice among industrialists in the early part of the last century.
Of course, Nuffield would have seen the business benefits of enabling his staff to share a dividend. Employees who have a stake in their company are more driven, because they see a direct link between their effort and the rewards they enjoy.
But Morris Motors didn’t want for dedicated staff: Morris’s loyalty to colleagues, and the family atmosphere he engendered right from those early days as a bike repairer, ensured a committed team that would deliver his wishes.
In short, Lord Nuffield did not have to buy his employees’ goodwill. They gave it willingly. And his other acts of altruism suggest that the decision to give Morris Motors’ staff a stake in the company was driven by generosity rather than business savvy. Nuffield had already established a reputation as a generous benefactor, giving to a variety of causes.
In 1926, he donated £10,000 to the parents of children in borstals so they could afford regular visits. A further £10,000 went to establish The King Alfonso XIII Chair of Spanish Studies at Exeter College, Oxford University. Nuffield also gave to a variety of hospitals throughout the UK, including the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, St Thomas’s in London and the Royal Devon and Exeter.
Perhaps Nuffield’s most notable donation was in 1937, when he gave £900,000 to Oxford University to establish Nuffield College. This is a postgraduate college specialising in the social sciences (Nuffield hoped it would focus on engineering, but it wasn’t to be). Not a bad legacy from a man who left school at 14 and was apprenticed as a bike mechanic.
Nuffield set up his eponymous Foundation in 1943, with a remit to focus on healthcare and social wellbeing. He gave the foundation £10 million of share options in Morris Motors in order to secure its future.
These acts of generosity established a template that subsequent generations of entrepreneurs would follow. Consider the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation as cases in point. Along with his care for his own staff, they show Lord Nuffield’s deeply held desire to share the fruits of his success with others.
Although the Morris Motors badge is now the stuff of automotive history, Nuffield’s legacy is very much alive more than five decades after his death. Strange to think it all started with a bike shop in his parents’ front room…
Just Recruitment: Doing the right thing
Just Recruitment Group Ltd is one of the only employee-owned recruitment companies in the UK. As well as providing its workforce with ownership of the business, Just Recruitment supports a number of charitable causes. Among these are East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) and Needham Market Football Club Under 11s. Like Lord Nuffield, we believe in sharing our prosperity, so that as many people as possible benefit from our success.
© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019
If you liked this article you may like to read – Business heroes: Ove Arup, Structural Engineer – Shaping the world
You may also like to read – How to find your passion
|Sector:||Engineering and Manufacturing
|Salary:||Discussed on application|
Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Senior Electrical Design Engineer with significant experience in electronics development for instrumentation.
Relocation package could be considered for the successful applicant.
This will be a senior engineering role, working as part of a dedicated R&D team responsible for coordinating sustaining activities across the broad range of our life-saving products.
Our client offers a flexible and dynamic environment and the space to stretch beyond your comfort zone in order to grow both personally and professionally as well as a competitive salary and benefits package and flexible working.
You will work closely with Manufacturing, Quality and Service to coordinate platform enhancements, implement cost reduction projects, drive corrective actions in response to field issues, respond to new regulatory requirements and mitigate manufacturing supply risk and manufacturing quality issues for our blood gas and urinalysis product lines.
You will also be responsible for providing electrical support to your team and daily activities will include investigating hardware complaints, researching and implementing alternative instrument components and designs, identifying lower-cost solutions, developing project schedules, defining V&V plans and ensuring on-time execution of plans.
Your qualifications and experience:
|Sector:||Property and Construction
|Salary:||£27,000 per annum|
Just Recruitment is representing a growing Mortgage Brokerage based in the Ipswich area.
Due to continued growth, they are looking to recruit experienced Mortgage Advisers to join their team.
The roles itself will be telephone based with all leads provided.
You must be CeMAP qualified with experience as an Adviser.
In return, we can offer you a highly competitive salary with on-target earnings of £60,000 PA.
|Sector:||Accountancy, Banking and Finance
|Salary:||£35,000 - £50,000 per annum|
Just Recruitment is looking for an Audit Senior/Semi Senior to work in any location across East Anglia and London.
The company’s dedicated public sector assurance team in East Anglia operate across the whole region from bases in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and London, servicing clients in those locations, as well as Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Sussex and Surrey.
The public sector clients include an extensive range of NHS, local and central government organisations, including the police and fire services. These vary in size, from £50 million to £2.2 billion gross expenditure per annum, and in technical complexity.
The Audit Senior works as part of an audit team or takes responsibility for running the audit, working directly with the client under manager supervision. The Audit Senior manages the audit team and supervises the audit process to ensure our audits are of high quality.
This role is open for applicants that wish to work in any of our locations across East Anglia and London.
Public sector external audit experience (Local Government, NHS, Central Government, Charities).
|Sector:||Accountancy, Banking and Finance
|Salary:||£40,000 - £46,000 per annum|
Do you have a background in Payroll? Are you looking for the next step up?
Due to continued expansion, our client is now looking for a Payroll Assistant Manager to join their team.
As an Assistant Payroll Manager, you will be responsible for overseeing the smooth and efficient delivery of a growing payroll bureau. Working alongside other managers to develop their existing client base.
You will have:
A background of working within a payroll bureau is necessary to be considered for this opportunity.
|Sector:||Engineering & Technical
|Salary:||£18,000 - £22,000 per annum|
Just Recruitment is looking for a Maintenance Administrator to join a company based in Ipswich, on a 12/18-month FTC.
As the Maintenance Administrator, you will be responsible for the efficient and effective delivery of a full range of administrative support within the Service and Maintenance department, ensuring excellent customer service always.
This is a busy role supporting many maintenance contracts while coordinating a number of engineers.
Your main responsibilities:
To be considered for the position you will have:
|Salary:||£8.45 per hour|
Just Recruitment is recruiting for 15 Production Operatives on behalf of a company based in Linton.
Due to new contracts, the company is rapidly expanding!!
Full training will be provided.
If you are available immediately, had experience within warehouse, production or assembly work and would be happy to work shifts 4 on, 4 off, 06:00 until 17:30 call us now!
Hourly rate: £8.45 to start with but will go up to £9.47 after you are fully trained with overtime at £12.67!
We look forward to hearing from you!!