At the National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC) we have quite some story to tell!
Since November 2014 the NSBRC has been owned and operated as an employee-owned business, with all of our team owning shares, either directly or through our Employee Ownership Trust.
Earlier in 2014 the Centre was in real difficulty, with its previous operator going into administration. The situation was looking bleak, particularly at one stage, when the doors were locked by our landlord and we couldn’t even access the building! However, with the backing of a supportive financial investor, there was light at the end of the tunnel and a small number of employees rallied around, formed a brand new business, and kept the NSBRC open.
Fast forward a few years and our situation could not be any more different. We are now an exciting, profitable and evolving business. We were named Wiltshire’s ‘Small Business of the Year’ at the 2017 Newsquest Business Awards and welcomed a record number of visitors last year. We now have a waiting list of exhibitors, wanting to be featured in our unique facility, and we work with many well-known local organisations such as Nationwide Building Society, National Trust and Sovereign Housing – all regular conference clients. We have been able to invest heavily in improving our Educational Centre and we have supported local initiatives such as Threshold (Homeless charity) and Swindon 105.5. This year we are the official sponsor of the new Swindon Half Marathon as we spread awareness to local residents that they can use this fantastic resource to help them with any type of housing project.
I can directly trace our recent successes to our employee-ownership. This way of working has encouraged a far more dynamic environment, by enabling our staff to input ideas and for decisions to be made quickly and in a fair and transparent way. We believe this would be a successful formula for many SME’s looking to nurture an open and engaged culture.
Around 300 companies are currently employee-owned in the UK – the most recognisable brands being John Lewis and Waitrose - and this number is increasing each year as businesses (and customers) recognise the additional commitment and quality of service that comes from the whole team being true stake-holders in a business. We regard our EO status as a ‘badge of honour’, an accreditation that sets us apart from our competition and identifies us as a quality brand with staff that truly care about what they do.
Independent research suggests that a combination of shared ownership and employee participation delivers superior business performance. The key to our recent success and growth in revenue has been, without doubt, our decision to produce our business plan together, with every member of the team involved at each stage. We took on a business in crisis, guided it through an initial period of recovery & consolidation, and have achieved a full turn-around in terms of performance and profitability.
Our jointly-written business plan has ensured that we all have a collective sense of ownership, in every sense of the word, and we all understand what our mission is, where we want to be, and crucially what part we each play in achieving this.
Our story so far has been one of an incredible turnaround. We are not complacent and know there is much to do to ensure we continue to grow and improve our offering. But EO Day is an ideal opportunity to reflect on our progress to date.
We are announcing our first ever Profit Share this year. On EO Day, we are paying 13% of our 2017/18 profit to our team. Every employee-owner will receive a fair share of the rewards their efforts, the open culture they have embraced, and their dedication have achieved.
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