B2E Consulting, a consulting firm that operates with a “gig economy” engagement model, has transitioned from a partner-owned firm to an employee-owned model. “Putting the reins of the organisation directly into the hands of the B2E team members creates a strong platform for continued growth and success as it accentuates the sense of shared corporate ownership – both practically and culturally,” explains B2E Consulting founding partner Tony McNeill.
Employee ownership is now the fastest growing form of business ownership in the UK – with companies in multiple sectors working to join famous examples like John Lewis in the practice, or recently, British home entertainment retailer Richer Sounds. Companies that are employee-owned, or that have large and significant employee ownership stakes, contribute £30 billion to the national GDP of the UK today, and a number of consulting firms are making moves to take up the structure.
Perhaps most famously, PA Consulting Group has historically been owned in part by its staff, along with engineering firms Arup and Mott MacDonald, while MindWorks Marketing switched to the model in 2017, choosing employee ownership following a successful period of growth. London-based risk consultancy 4most followed suit a year later, transitioning from a privately-held firm to reinforce the company’s unique working culture which had led to its success.
Now, B2E Consulting has become the latest firm to make the move to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). Established in 2004, the consultancy uses a gig economy model to provide a full spectrum of consulting services (interim through to full-service) to its clients. As the firm moves into its next phase of growth and development, founding partners Tony McNeill and James Markham have taken the exciting decision to hand over 70% of B2E Consulting to an employee ownership trust, allowing the employees to become co-owners and co-beneficiaries of the future success of the firm.
The company will now be led by a Management Board that will focus on financial performance and B2E’s Five Year Business Plan. While this will not lead to significant visible day-to-day change in the running or operation of B2E, the switch to an EOT will aim to reinforce B2E’s values of innovation and client service.
Commenting on why the EOT model is right for B2E, McNeill said, “Putting the reins of the organisation directly into the hands of the B2E team members creates a strong platform for continued growth and success as it accentuates the sense of shared corporate ownership – both practically and culturally. B2E has always been a flexible team of highly motivated people who lead and drive change within our organisation and this is the perfect vehicle to empower our team even further to innovate and to enable them to share in the success of B2E.”
Deb Oxley OBE, chief executive of the Employee Ownership Association, remarked on the news: “By widening ownership of the business to its employees B2E Consulting is securing the future of the business, including its ethos, values and employees, while rooting itself locally for the longer term to the benefit of the community(ies) which it serves.”