Reflecting on another successful EOA conference  

A week on from the Employee Ownership Association (EOA) conference, held this year at the ACC Liverpool, we have had time to look back and reflect on what was another excellent event, particularly for the RM2 team.  

This annual conference brings together business owners who wish to celebrate their decision to share their success with employees or those considering a similar move, with businesses such as RM2 that specialise in helping them realise their ambition or manage an existing scheme. 

The event was attended by more than 700 representatives of employee-owned businesses, professional advisors and those wanting guidance on how to implement and manage some form of employee ownership for their business. 

Show day arrives with impact 

As might be expected of the UK’s leading consultancy specialising in designing, implementing and administering all types of employee ownership solutions, RM2 has exhibited at the show many times before. But it was still great to see our new banner given pride of place in the entrance hall.  

There is a growing momentum to the rise of employee ownership as the benefits become clear to an increasing number of business owners. RM2 reflected this trend, with a new show stand, new graphics and a campaign message that communicated the efforts we expend to tailor solutions to the unique requirements of every business, its owners and its people.  

To emphasise the importance of tailoring solutions and our ability to handle both indirect and direct share ownership for employees, we even had a tailor’s dummy on our stand complete with a half-tailored jacket. And if you were wondering, we named him Grant.  

The event was extremely busy, with an intense hubbub from all the networking in the hall, as everyone made new contacts and caught up with those they had met before. It was a great opportunity for the RM2 team to talk to business owners and those from employee-owned businesses about their employee ownership journey. 

Conversations often extended into what the next steps on the employee ownership journey might look like. There were many different owners and a multitude of different business sectors represented, but all with the same goal to ensure their people shared in the current and future success of the business. 

Taking businesses on the journey to employee ownership requires many different specialists, like ourselves. This conference was a great opportunity to chat with other advisors in this space to share new ideas and best practice. Whether it was about valuing a business, financing the transition to an Employee-Owned Trust or managing people, the insights only add value to the experience. 

There was a great deal of information on offer about different employee ownership structures, the role of trustees, managing organisational change and sustainable business practices. We might have been doing what we do best for almost three decades, but we’re still ready to learn. 

The RM2 team on a journey 

We are a product of our own advice and RM2 is an employee-owned consultancy. We believe that introducing employee ownership, in any form, can help shape a brighter future for all, which is why we chose this model for our business. This event also offered inspiration for our own employee ownership journey. 

The team here also recognises that taking the first step to employee ownership needs careful planning and a design that’s unique to your business, which is why we do not concern ourselves with anything else but employee ownership matters. 

There were many fascinating presentations, allowing us to hear valuable insights from business leaders, including an inspirational keynote speech from Joe Garner, previous CEO of Nationwide, who spoke about humanity in business and the importance of wellbeing in the workplace. 

It was also rewarding to be part of a challenging and provocative panel discussion with Chris Hines of PIP Electrical and Matt Lee of Aber Instruments, discussing financial reward in employee-owned businesses, which proved both entertaining and enlightening. 

Time in the spotlight 

Whilst a lot of serious work was undertaken and we came away with a renewed enthusiasm for what we do here at RM2 and the difference we can make to any business, there was also the small matter of the EOA Annual Conference Gala Dinner on 27 November, with awards to be handed out too. 

This fabulous evening event, was again brilliantly compered by EO regular Martine Croxall, previously a journalist and presenter with BBC News. The dress code was black tie for those who wanted to impress, but similarly for those who wanted to make a statement, Doc Martens were de rigueur. 

The evening was rounded off by a hugely successful ‘rockaoke’ session, which gave us some extraordinarily professional-quality singing from some frustrated rock-gods, accompanied by some amateur but very passionate dance moves! 

The entire two-day event was a huge success for both the employee ownership business sector and RM2, with a greater awareness of what we do, how we do it and the reasons we are the UK’s leading employee ownership consultancy. 

If you would like to know more about how to start your employee ownership journey, please get in touch and we’ll talk you through the options available and how they can be tailored to best suit your unique needs.