A managing director at a UK-wide security and cleaning company wants his employees to have job security … so he’s transferred ownership of the business to its workforce.
Paul Cody founded security and cleaning company Britsafe 30 years ago which now employees 500 people nationwide.
Rather than sell the company to a rival or risk it being taken over with the possibility of job cuts, the former soldier has turned it into an employee-owned business so they’ll be in control when he retires.
This means the employees effectively all have a stake in the company and will get tax-free bonuses if the business continues to do well. It also means every employee has the incentive to do their very best for the business and play their part in its future success.
Britsafe is the first security company in the UK to set up an Employee Ownership Trust although some well-known businesses already run this way, including the John Lewis Partnership and Aardman animations, creators of world-renowned films Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Chicken Run.
Paul said: “It’s an exciting prospect for our employees, giving them a direct investment in their future income. But, more importantly, in these desperate times of rising costs, it gives the employees stability and job security.
“It gives them collective control of their future and keeps considerably more money in employees’ hands which, in turn, encourages them to keep delivering outstanding service to our clients.”
Britsafe managing director Gareth Thomas added: “Employee ownership makes us less vulnerable to acquisition and therefore any interruption to the supply of our customers’ service.
“It also gives the employees a voice in how the business is run, giving them a sense of fulfilment and achievement. It means we are a team of partners, not employees, and we all benefit from our success. It’s a win-win all round.”
Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs) are a Government initiative promoting employee ownership by giving business owners the opportunity to sell their shares to an employee-owned trust free from capital gains tax. EOTs do not involve direct share ownership by employees. A controlling interest in the company is transferred to an all-employee trust which is then held for the benefit of employees who must have a say in how the business is run.
Research shows that companies owned by their employees outperform other firms in key areas such as job security, working hours and salary, meaning great staff retention.
Cindy Turcot, Chair of the Employee Ownership Foundation’s Board of Trustees, said: “Studies show that employee ownership is an outstanding business model that works to assure the continued success and safety of both employees and the business.
“This research expands the growing knowledge that employee-owned businesses excel at surviving the most difficult economic conditions while also excelling at retaining customers and staff.”
James de le Vingne, chief executive of the Employee Ownership Association, said: “We congratulate our member Britsafe on its transition to employee ownership, securing the ethos, values and culture of the businesses for future generations. Businesses that give employees a stake and a say build trust and shared responsibility, uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose and leaving businesses in a better position to flex and adapt.”
Britsafe’ s headquarters are in York but they cover the whole of the UK, providing professional security and cleaning services to major commercial companies which include well-known household names across industries such as pharmaceuticals, furniture manufacturing, sports brands, financial institutions, distribution and logistics companies and beauty and fragrance.