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Employee Ownership: One Year On

Articles 27 July 2021

It’s been just over a year since the Seetec Group transitioned into employee ownership, becoming one of the largest employee-owned businesses in Ireland and the UK.

We believe employee ownership is a positive, resilient and sustainable way of transforming lives and communities, embracing the views and experience of our employees, enabling us to deliver better outcomes for society and the people who use our services, even during difficult times.

Our people are our greatest asset, and as we meet the challenges posed by COVID-19, employee ownership is enabling us to fully embrace our talents and skills to better support the communities we work with across Ireland.

Karl Milne, Executive Director of Seetec Ireland, said: “I am proud of the resilience shown by our employee-owners to confront the challenges presented by the pandemic. Our colleagues on the frontline have witnessed its impact first-hand and the effects on the livelihoods and the health and wellbeing of our participants.

“It is important to be mindful also of the mental and physical impact of the last 15 months on our colleagues. Employee-Ownership in Ireland is fostering a reinvigorated culture that encourages collaboration and a greater focus on a holistic approach to overcoming any barriers faced, by both our employee-owners and the people we support.”

What is employee ownership?

In January 2020 the Seetec Group underwent a significant transformation, becoming one of the largest employee-owned businesses in Ireland and the UK with 51% now owned by our employees.

By putting our employee-owners behind the driving wheel of our business, our colleagues across all levels and geographical locations are bringing their ideas, their voices and influence into decisions on how the business is shaped and run.

Seetec is united in our passion for changing lives and believe everyone should be able to take ownership and responsibility over their future. That’s also why ownership and control of our business is entrusted to our people. They are the heart of our business, generating the best outcomes for the people we work with and shaping our future.

How has employee ownership changed Seetec Ireland?

Since the shift into employee ownership in January 2020, our business has undergone significant changes to provide an inclusive environment for our new employee-owners to have a say in its operational and strategic direction. We elected an employee council and we created a large network of employee champions who work with colleagues to create an inclusive structure for employee involvement.

The Employee Council is formed of 10 individuals elected from all parts of the business and has two Irish members Janet Creavy, a Business Manager based in Dublin, and Niamh Forde, an Employment Advisor based in Galway. Council members are responsible for representing the views and opinions of our employee-owners at a senior leadership level, whilst our employee champions work with colleagues as a peer to peer network and participate in working groups with senior leaders.

When asked about the impact employee ownership has had on Seetec Ireland, Janet said: “I think it’s a fantastic move. Employee ownership has provided a real opportunity for our voices and perspectives as Irish people on the frontlines of our business to be heard across all levels. It’s important for all of us to be involved in the development and progress of the business here in Ireland. It also unifies us in a desire to create the very best working environment by supporting each other to best enable us to support our customers.”

Adding to this positive feedback, Niamh said: “I feel it’s given us a unique opportunity to influence the future direction of our business, taking the views and opinions of our colleagues to the Employee Council is invaluable. It’s crucial that the people who work closely with our customers and understand their needs get to be heard. They also have the best perspective on how we can develop and expand our services. We have talented colleagues who bring their skills to the business that help us all to grow and flourish.”

Looking to the future

As we continue our employee-ownership journey, we are making plans to further amplify the impact of our employee-ownership status on the individuals and communities we support through our services in Ireland.

Our employee-owners share a burning ambition to ensure that there continues to be equal opportunities in Ireland for everyone. It is important that as a business we are proactive in enhancing every possible chance to change lives and empower communities as we walk a path of recovery from COVID-19.

Ann-Marie Conway, Associate Director – Employee Ownership, said: “The move to employee ownership has been a fantastic decision for Seetec Ireland, it’s a progressive opportunity for us as a business, allowing our colleagues across Ireland to influence how the business is run. Our employee-owners make a lasting impact in the work they do to help individuals and local communities thrive, so it makes sound business sense to use their experience and insight to help to shape and evolve the services we provide.”

Our employee-owners in Ireland are committed to playing a vital role in helping to provide an inclusive recovery from the pandemic that directly benefits the local communities within which they serve. Our colleagues have a drive to help transform the lives of people across Ireland, embracing all abilities and backgrounds, allowing everyone the opportunity to create and live more fulfilling lives.