Business

Research firm’s increase in demand a year on from employee ownership transition

A social and economic research firm has seen an increased demand for its services almost a year on from its employee ownership transition

Aberaeron-based Wavehill completed its transition to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) in October 2020 with the support of Social Business Wales, via its Employee Ownership Wales service.

Wavehill, which was founded in 1992, specialises in getting evidence-based research to inform policymaking and also evaluating programmes and projects, working with clients from public, private and third sectors.

Since the business transitioned to an employee-owned firm last year, it has seen an increase in demand for its services by 25% since the same period the previous year.

With the firm’s directors looking for a viable succession route, while rewarding their current team and attracting the best talent, Wavehill’s 22 employees attained a 54% ownership stake in the business.

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Founding director of Wavehill, Mark Willis, said: “Employee ownership offers a perfect split between securing a robust succession plan, but also keeping your current employees happy and knowing the business is in safe hands.

“Since our transition to an employee-owned business, we’ve seen a 25% growth our orderbook, and have met all of our objectives. I think it revitalised the whole organisation.”

“We’ve set up the structures so that employees really feel that they have a key role to play in the management of Wavehill. It’s an attractive prospect for future employees – such as bringing in senior staff to the business.

“We have also introduced an Employee Management Initiative (EMI) to develop more senior consultants who, over a period of years, will also get ownership. It is a nice, virtuous circle, and a lovely model to help us go forward.”

Social Business Wales is part of the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service and the Wales-Co-operative Centre, with the Employee Ownership Wales service offering fully funded guidance and support on employee ownership and share schemes to Welsh businesses.

Mr Willis added: “Covid-19 definitely added to the challenge, but we’ve come out of it hitting all our targets and the key trustees and directors are fully set up. The business is flying, and we have never been in a better position.

“Employee ownership has been a huge benefit for our business, and I’d highly recommend Wales Co-operative to others.”

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