Employee Owned Businesses Growing By 10% Annually: Access Platform Company Share Their Thoughts 2 Years On

Horizon Platforms Employee Ownership 2 Years On

The employee owned business sector is growing at an annual rate of 10% with research showing that employee-owned businesses typically outperform their competitors with regards to productivity, staff retention and absenteeism. After 2 years of being an employee-owned business, Yorkshire-based, access platform hire and solutions company Horizon Platforms share their thoughts on the scheme.

As an employee-owned business, employees have the potential for annual bonuses associated with the performance of Horizon Platforms but do not directly own shares, allowing ownership to be transferred without the team needing to source funds to buy into the business.

Recently recognised by Best Companies, formerly the Sunday Times List, as one of the top 100 mid-sized companies to work for in the UK, Horizon Platforms became the first powered access company to become employee-owned in February 2021. Since becoming employee owned, between 2020 and 2022 Horizon Platforms has gone from strength to strength with revenue growth reaching approximately 60%.

Todor Ilinov, Senior Repair Engineer and Current Co-Owner Representative Trustee Director, has described the employee ownership scheme as being “the cherry picker on top of the cake” and “that together [they] are greater than the sum of parts, and that’s what being employee owned is all about.”

Ben Hirst, CEO at Horizon Platforms, shared his experience of creating an employee-owned business; “I believe that even before becoming employee-owned, Horizon Platforms had already created an aligned, empowering, and collaborative culture. There’s no question though, handing ownership to the team via an Employee Ownership Trust has enhanced it further.

I link my thinking around this to two innate human needs – security and purpose – and I find it helpful to reflect on some similarities to home ownership. I guess it is safe to say that the majority of us wish to, at some point in our lives, own our own home. This provides us, and our families with security. I also regularly come across people who dream of building their own homes, wishing to influence the look and feel of a place they not only own but will spend significant time within.

Allowing great people the opportunity to enjoy the security of working in a business they collectively own, as well as the opportunity to craft the look and feel of that same business plays straight into these human needs. Hence why I was, and still am, thrilled to have been able to facilitate this for the team here at Horizon Platforms.”

Kelly Burgess, Head of Customer Service started working at Horizon Platforms in 2011 and shared her feeling about the workplace culture; “I truly believe we were ready for an EOT Ownership, the reason I say this is because I don’t see or feel a difference if I am being completely honest… it feels the same. Even before we were employee-owned, we always had a close family team doing what they do best to go above and beyond. Maybe it has just brought us closer.”

Malcolm Briggs, Marketing Manager at Horizon Platforms, joined the company in January 2023 and shares his experience as a new member of the team; “When looking for a new role, the fact Horizon Platforms was an employee-owned business stood out to me. Honestly, I didn’t fully understand what that meant, and it didn’t matter. What did matter was that I thought that accountability, drive and ambition would be shared and for the right reasons. Months into my new role, I have been proved right.

Horizon’s values are not empty words, everyone embodies them and plays them out daily. That’s why we have excellent customer feedback and co-owner engagement. The structures in place mean everyone is supported and given the tools to do their job to the best of their ability. Vision and strategy are communicated coherently, and everyone has sight of it. More importantly, everyone plays an active role with a shared voice and empowerment to act to fulfil the vision and strategy.”

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