Since the early 1960’s when Schultz first introduced us to the phrase ‘Human Capital’, companies have defined their workforce in economic terms. In other words, the profitability that their people bring to the company and the demonstrable return on the investment for the Board.
And in some senses, employees themselves have underpinned that connection, historically selecting jobs based largely on the salary and benefits offered by an employer.
Times are changing though. There’s no shortage of news items reporting the quest of Millennials (or Gen Y) for work with meaning, ideally within a purpose driven organisation, rather than seeking the role that offers the biggest return come pay day. We’ve always felt intuitively that working for an employee-owned organisation could be the key to Millennials achieving this goal; the deeper connection that is established with a company by a person that co-owns it rather than “just” being an employee can go a long way to making work for that company meaningful. And there are plenty of examples of employee-owned organisations being driven by purpose as well as profit.
So we were not surprised when a recent survey, carried out by the law firm Shakespeare Martineau, concluded that employee-ownership is a key driver in the career decisions of many graduates. However, the fact that a whopping eight out of ten of the 150 graduates surveyed by the firm responded that the employee-ownership of a potential employer would positively influence their decision to join an organisation surprised even us! When compared to other influencing factors including a good reputation (34%) and specialist expertise (36%), employee-ownership is a clear differentiator.
We are working with more and more businesses as they transition to employee-ownership. A good proportion of the early adopters of this business model have been graduate-heavy professional services firms (including architects, consultant engineers, accountants and even lawyers like ourselves!). It’s heartening to think that the ownership structure of these companies stands out in the ever-present battle for talent.
One more reason to consider employee-ownership for your company.
If you would like to discuss possible approaches to employee ownership in confidence, please do get in touch with us.