Smile Together has been an engaged member of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA) since 2016 with our Managing Director Paul Critchley presenting at previous EOA national conferences, our employee-owners attending various EOA events, submitting nominations for their annual awards (often successfully) and participating in online activities (we’re the current #EOisTheAnswer 2020 Quiz Champions!).

We were therefore privileged to be invited to participate in EO Boost – the equivalent of the EOA’s national conference, necessarily becoming virtual due to the pandemic, offering engaging learning and insightful discussions on what good business and employee ownership (EO) succession looks like – for individuals, businesses and the UK economy.

Paul, together with Jonathan Bouwer-Davies, our Dental Director, and Tracy Wilson, our Head of Marketing and Communications, presented a pre-recorded session entitled: ‘Leadership and Management: Creating a Culture of Employee Ownership’ with Paul and Tracy also supporting a live Q&A Zoom session immediately afterwards.

The immediate Twitter response was very positive with posts such as:

  • “Thank you @SmileTogetherUK for sharing your journey to create a culture of #employeeownership #reducinginequalities #prevention within Cornish communities @PHE_uk”
  • “Very inspiring from @SmileTogetherUK about how @EmployeeOwned empowers the dentists and dental nurses in their business. Love the idea of Smiles at sea – dentistry on the harbour!”
  • “Enjoying listening to @SmileTogetherUK talking about good leadership and management in @EmployeeOwned businesses. Love their focus for internal comm’s – remind and re-assure #EOBoost”
  • We’ve heard today from @SmileTogetherUK about the intrinsic role of leaders in helping co-owners bring #employeeownership to life in their session as part of #EOBoost. Confidently equipped leaders can really lift overall employee engagement”

We’ve also had tremendous engagement from other employee-owned organisations since EO Boost as well as those considering the transition. In addition our team members registered for EO Boost and participated in a variety of sessions over the three days delivered by a range of organisations from Riverford Organic Farmers, Union Industries (UK manufacturer), Tenscare and Broadway Malyan (global consultancy) to Make Architects, Mindworks Marketing, CIPD and Federation of Small Businesses, covering topics such as communications and engagement, gathering and using employee opinion, what good EO looks like and lessons learnt.

The EO community is very inspiring, innovative and open – these sessions gave really honest insight into EO within different business cultures, confirming that:

  • EO is most definitely a better way of doing business and seen as central to driving responsible business in future – they’re increasingly workplaces where people want to work which will stand us in good stead for our journey towards B Corp certification
  • Research has shown that engagement and trust has grown most during Covid-19 in EO businesses
  • EO empowers people, makes them feel trusted and confident to have a voice and be innovative
  • In good times it’s good, in challenging times it’s not so bad when you’re an EO business – it’s a powerful asset making you more resilient as a business

If you registered before Thurs 26th Nov you can access all the #EOBoost sessions here online until Nov 2021 – they’re well worth watching!

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