Our team of employee ownership specialists have supported another business into employee ownership (EO). Abergavenny based Miller Research, which undertakes research, consultancy, and evaluation work across a range of sectors for clients in Wales have become the latest Welsh business to become employee-owned.
Managing Director and founder, Nick Miller, has sold his majority interest in the company to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), which owns the shares on behalf of all 24 employees. This step has given employees ownership of the business and a huge say in its future direction, building on the 19 years of growth overseen by Nick. As all who have been part of the process attest, day one of a bright future employee owned future starts now.
Nick started the business in the market town of Abergavenny in 2002, and whilst the business continues to operate and have a strong presence in Wales, their agile approach to work has meant that they have been able to attract talent from across the UK and beyond as they have grown. Having started with just two staff, the business now employs a team of 23 researchers.
The business has put a particular focus on staff wellbeing with all staff members operating on a nine-day fortnight, a remote and flexible working policy, and the opportunity for pro-bono work to exist alongside their commercial interests. This has led to a healthy staff retention rate, and a group of employees who are truly invested in the future of the business.
Miller Research’s commitment to a positive employee culture and team happiness was recently recognised by the Escape100 awards, a list which represents the organisations that are leading the way in putting people and the planet on a par with profit. They placed among other industry disruptors such as Too Good To Go, Who Gives a Cr*p, and Wild Cosmetics.
Being a B Corp certified business, Employee Ownership was seen as the best succession planning option, as it aligned with their values, ethos and plans for the future. The EOT will be managed by a board of directors that includes Nick alongside long-standing staff members and Associate Directors, Kerry KilBride and Nick Morgan.
Director Nick Miller said that deciding to pursue employee ownership was a natural step given the rapid growth of Miller Research over recent years:
“Miller Research has seen an increase in business even in the face of market uncertainties including Brexit and Covid-19. The key to this resilience has been a team that’s diverse in its skillset and knowledge of differing sectors. There’s no one that knows the business better than the staff, so it makes sense to keep the legacy in their hands.”
“This EOT is just a reflection of how we want to operate as a business, and I’m really pleased to have made it happen alongside Cwmpas.”
Kerry KilBride, Associate Director who has worked at Miller Research since 2005, said:
“Miller Research has always been a fantastic place to work, but in recent years we’ve made several changes to ensure that we’re giving our employees the best possible experience and opportunities. Employee ownership really is the best solution to ensure that we move the operations forward in a way that recognises those that helped build it.”
Miller Research was advised on the transition into employee ownership and the setting up of the EOT by our specialist Employee Ownership team at Cwmpas. Branwen Ellis, specialist Employee Ownership Consultant who supported Nick and the employees at Miller Research through the change of ownership, said:
“It has been a pleasure working with the team at Miller Research. Opting for a succession route that acknowledges the contribution of, and rewards employees aligns well with the ethos of a B Corp Certified business and paves the way for sustainable growth. I look forward to seeing how the business goes from strength to strength”.
The GS Verde Group supported Miller Research throughout the transaction, utilising its multidiscipline expertise to achieve an optimal outcome for Miller Research that will enable the continued success of the business and the management teams’ ambitions for the future. Branwen commented:
“Working collaboratively with specialist agencies such as GS Verde means together we can highlight the benefits of EO and bring this model to many businesses across Wales”.
The move into employee ownership means Miller Research will join a list of businesses making the transition to an EO model and supporting the Welsh Government’s commitment to double the number of employee-owned businesses by 2026.