Last month saw the annual Employee Ownership Association Conference and Awards dinner. The event was held over two days with opportunities to get to know other employee owners and companies who are thinking about becoming employee owned, and to share stories and ideas for employee ownership. Nine of our employees attended the event.
Being an Employee Owned Company
Wise Investment has been employee owned for two and a half years now. When we first decided to become employee owned, it was a practical solution to succession planning (Tony has no intention of going anywhere, but thought it would be prudent to plan sooner rather than later). We have since realised many other benefits of being employee owned.
One of the key things to come out of the process has been that everyone has been able to put their ideas forward, many of which have been put into place. We have also been able to maintain the personal pride in the company, despite growing rapidly over the last year or so.
The conference was a great experience and an opportunity to meet a variety of people from other employee owned companies. As would be expected, most of the attendees are directors or senior managers, but there were also a number of ‘ordinary’ employees wanting to be more involved in employee ownership.
All of the attendees were friendly, warm and willing to share their own experiences, both good and bad.
For all of us, the presentations were both reassuring and enlightening. We have come away with a number of good ideas on how much more we can strive towards in future.
The highlight of the Conference was the Awards dinner. We had entered into three of the awards, with companies from all over the UK and of varying sizes. Being a fairly small company, we felt extremely proud to see ‘Wise Investment’ displayed alongside so many other companies, big and small alike (though most of them bigger than us).
The awards we entered were the Employee Owned Business of the Year, the Innovation of the Year, and the Employee Owner of the Year.
Although we did not win any of the awards, each award had two or three highly commended entries that the judges felt deserved recognition. We were extremely proud for Alex Rae to have been highly commended for the Employee Owner of the Year Award.
Alex has been key in establishing employee ownership as an opportunity for us to become a stronger business in which we can all have an impact. Without her genuine caring for, not just the business, but everyone who works for Wise we might not have come so far as we have in the last year.