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19 Mar 2021

Companies that give – Richer Sounds & Employee Ownership

Richer Sounds is a UK retailer with 52 stores nationwide that sell a range of Hi-Fi, home cinema and TV equipment. Julian Richer, founder of the company has built a reputation for quality customer service and has long been an advocate for treating staff well and intends to reward his employees for their efforts by joining companies such as John Lewis in ’employee ownership’.

What is employee ownership? 

An employee ownership trust is a specialist form of an employee benefit trust that was introduced by the government in 2014. With an employee ownership trust, shareholders are encouraged to sell their shares into a trust which is held on behalf of the employees of a company. John Lewis led the way on employee ownership in the UK and now has over £11.7 billion and a workforce of over 80,000 partners.

Richer Sounds announced plans to transfer a 60% stake of the business to its 522 employees, each of them will be sharing a total of £3.5 million where they’ll receive £1,000 for every year they’ve been at the company, the average bonus will be worth £8,000. Julian Richer has maintained for decades that treating employees well is the secret to businesses success.

The company refuses zero-hour contracts, pays the living wage, has a ‘helping hand’ fund to support staff struggling financially, and is also one of only 14% of companies with a gender pay gap that favours women.

 “I’ve been running my business for 40 years and the overriding thing I’ve learned is that it’s all about the people. If you treat your people right, then they are going to be happier, give a better service, stay with you, they are not going to steal.”

Julian Richer
Founder

Should more companies follow Richer’s approach towards employee ownership? 

According to a report by the Employee Ownership Association giving employees a stake in a company can create a positive company culture, increase productivity and improve decision making. it is easy to see why the employee-owned sector is growing by 10% every year.

Richer has said that motivating staff was a crucial element to the success of his business and that employees must share the same ambition and passion for its company. “While it’s true that employee ownership creates strong incentives in the form of employee motivation and productivity, this counts for very little if the people who work in the company aren’t steeped in a strong, sustainable culture.”

‘The John Lewis Effect’

Numerous studies and statistics show how employee-owned businesses outperform other businesses. The positive figures in terms of productivity, absenteeism and growth for employee-owned companies are often referred to as ‘the John Lewis effect’, after the UK’s highest-profile employee-owned business.

Gaining a stake in a business is an attractive incentive for staff to perform well and stick around for longer. Employee-owned companies in the UK already turn over around £30 billion annually and the popularity of employee ownership is growing.

Reward and Recognition

It’s a well-known fact people like to feel valued at work, by recognising employee achievements and rewarding performance, businesses can boost loyalty and make their workforces more retention friendly. A study from Each Person found that when asked what would make them feel more valued in the workplace, 51% of employees said a simple thank you. Here at Each Person, we believe that rewards and recognition is key to happy and motivated employees.

Small gestures and perks at work can make a huge difference in the way people feel about themselves and their efforts. Businesses may introduce rewards such as Ecards and employee vouchers for employees as a way to say thank you for your hard work.

We wanted to do a series of articles on companies that do employee recognition right. Whether that be employee ownership schemes or simple ecard schemes get in touch if you know of a company that deserves the limelight.

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