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Employee Ownership Day

On 23 June 2023, we celebrate the 11th annual Employee Ownership Day!

Each EO Day, thousands of employee owners, EO businesses and supporters of employee ownership from across the UK come together to raise awareness of the benefits and impact of employee ownership. In the decade since EO Day was first launched, employee ownership has grown rapidly across the sectors and regions of the UK.

Granby – employee owned since September 2022

For Granby, an employee-owned trust since September 2022, our EO journey was driven by Jo Kimber, our MD. Since acquiring Granby in 2013, Jo had been thinking about a suitable strategy for releasing her shareholdings.

 “When I started to look at an exit strategy, I initially (looked at) a trade sale and talked to a number of potential buyers, but I always came away from the conversations feeling a little cold and wondering if it was going to be the right fit for the company.” Jo Kimber

There are 3 types of employee ownership to meet the needs of a wide range of businesses. Granby chose indirect employee ownership. This means the shares are held collectively on behalf of employees through an employee trust, which also governs the business to ensure the board and leadership are acting with the best interests of the employees.

So, why did Granby become an Employee-Owned Trust?

Employee-owned businesses have been seen to be more productive, more resilient and are rooted in their local areas and communities, securing good jobs for the longer term in the regions. Employee ownership promotes investing in the long term, as well as looking honestly at Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) issues and how best to tackle them.

Jo said, “I had not heard of employee ownership as an option but …once I was sold on the idea… it was clear that an employee ownership model ticked all the boxes for us and there was no real hesitation, it just felt right.”

Jo and her team chose to set up an employee ownership trust (EOT). The deal saw Granby’s people share a 100% stake in the business.

How has the team adapted to the new ownership structure?

With Jo slowly changing her role towards one more focused on managing client relations, bringing in new business and supporting the team as they move forward this has meant new opportunities of the leadership team at Granby.  Caroline Noblett, Director of People and Finance has stepped up and has taken on additional responsibilities, as has Victoria Pittman, our Head of Client Services and Business Development.

Jo wants to see Granby continue to operate on a sustainable basis, paying employees a decent wage and ensuring development within the team and this is supported by Caroline.

“We’ve talked about growth and potentially moving to a larger premises which would be a huge step for us. But for us, the focus is not so much on profit but more on people and making sure they have a good standard of living.” Caroline Noblett

Is an EOT the right choice for every business?

Jo was asked whether this route was one that could be right for every business.

“If it’s a financial transaction you are looking for then employee ownership is not for you, a trade route would be better. There are tax benefits, but you should not be doing it for financial reasons, it’s more about shaping the future success of the business.” Jo Kimber


Photo by Andrey Popov on Shutterstock


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