As you may know by now, this year Skout went through the process of becoming an employee-owned business (EOB)! This is an exciting move that provides great opportunities for everyone connected with the business, not just for our employees, but for our clients and everyone we will work with in the future.
As part of the process, an employee-owned trust (EOT) was established and two employees were appointed as members. The trust has oversight of Skout to make sure it’s run in the best interests of our employees. We spoke to our operations manager, Alex Gladwin, one of our first ever employee trustees to find out what it means to be a trustee for an employee-owned business.
What were your thoughts on Skout becoming an EOB?
For a greater understanding, our directors Rob and Claire provided the team with a clear explanation of how becoming an EOB would not only impact the business, but also to us as employees and to them as shareholders. They were very open and honest with the team, which was reassuring and once I learnt more, I understood it could bring more great opportunities and benefits.
The security of Skout’s future and therefore, the team’s future was the most significant aspect to me. Working for a small business means its future depends on the owners and their own personal life plans. Selling the business to an employee-owned trust (EOT) means Skout’s future is no longer dependent on Rob and Claire, securing the future for the business and its employees.
What does a trustee do?
Any major decisions regarding the business need to be approved by the trust to ensure they are in line with the overall business plan and to the benefit of the employees. It is also our responsibility to ensure the payments are met to shareholders who sold the business to the trust.
The board of trustees meet every six months to review the financial budgets and forecasts for the business. The target is to pay off the debt and reach financial ‘independence day’. This means that all profits can be invested back into the business to support its growth, and of course hopefully more bonuses for the employees.
Why did you want to become a trustee?
In my operational and finance capacity, I knew I would need to support the process of setting up the EOT and make sure the financial commitments were made. With my HR responsibilities, I always balance the needs of the business with the needs of the team, and they are at the centre of an EOB. Since I would already be heavily involved with the planning and management of the EOT, by joining the board of trustees I could ensure the success of the trust and make sure the process is as smooth and efficient as possible.
How did you become a trustee?
The board of trustees was voted for by the employees. The business asked for volunteers, we put our names forward and the employees voted – I was lucky enough to voted in! The term is only for two years so other employees will get the opportunity to represent their colleagues in the not-too-distant future.
What are you hopes for the future of the trust?
At the moment my hope is that we continue with business as usual. The directors and leadership team remains the same, as well as their commitments, hopes, and plans for the future of the business.
The continuity of still having Rob and Claire at the head of the business provides us with stability. The growth of the business will bring great opportunities to the team and to their career ambitions.
As a business, this adds to the benefits we offer and ensures we are a company that people want to work for and with; these are exciting times and I am grateful to be here as we move forward.
Are you interested in learning more about employee-owned businesses? Find out more here.