On 21 November 2016 I gave a speech to those attending the Employee Ownership Association Annual Awards Dinner, exhorting members of the employee ownership community to fly the flag. This is an extract from my speech – it was nice and short! I hope you find it relevant and interesting.
I’ve been in a state of high excitement over the last few days about this event. I’ve believed passionately in employee ownership since the earliest days of my own career as a lawyer, and in so many ways it’s defined my working life, both in the work our firm does and our own ownership and culture. Back then I could never have imagined an event like this built around employee ownership, so it feels brilliant not just to be here at this fabulous reception but for our firm to be given the opportunity to help you ensure you all have something nice to drink.
But this is a really serious thing. We’ve seen some tumultuous events in the UK and the USA this year. It’ll take historians at least a generation to make sense of it all, but to me it’s one blindingly clear sign that despite our having advanced economies many are not getting a fair share of the rewards of their labour, and it’s really beginning to hurt. So let’s recognise that we can make a real difference, that employee ownership is part of the answer to a very big problem.
It’s time for us not just to make a success of it in our own businesses but tell anyone else about it who might care to listen.
It’s time for us to shout from the rooftops the benefits we see in our own businesses: shared rewards, opportunity, job satisfaction, having a purpose.
It’s time to turn that into real stories and some hard facts about how employee ownership makes lives better.
Those of us here who are from companies already employee owned know how to do it, the pitfalls, and the benefits, and it’s time for us to share our knowledge with everyone else.
Ladies and gentlemen, the door’s a quarter open and there are millions of people on the other side for whom employee ownership can make a positive difference. So let’s be bold and confident that we are really onto something. It’s time for us to break through.