Cash bonus as BritainThinks marks transfer to employee ownership

Employees at strategic insight consultancy BritainThinks have been given a one-off cash bonus of £1,000 this month, to mark the agency's decision to transfer ownership of its business to its 50 staff.

(L-R) Deborah Mattinson, Ben Shimshon and Viki Cooke, founding partners of BritainThinks
(L-R) Deborah Mattinson, Ben Shimshon and Viki Cooke, founding partners of BritainThinks

Some 60 per cent of the company has, in effect, been sold to an Employee Ownership Trust in a move that could result in staff receiving double-digit bonuses in future years.

Announcing the decision this month, managing partner Ben Shimshon commented: "We believe that doing our bit to help build a more inclusive economy also makes sound business sense. Our people are the core of the fantastic business we’ve built over the last decade."

He said: "By giving everyone at BritainThinks a share in our future success, we want to encourage and reward their entrepreneurialism, professionalism and dedication. We are more optimistic about BritainThinks' future than ever, and look forward to an even more successful 2020."

Sharing success

In the short term, the change in ownership means that all members of staff will be entitled to earn up to £3,600 in bonuses each year income tax-free.

In the longer term, with the company seeking to achieve 10 per cent annual growth, once deferred payments to the agency's founders have been made the company will be looking to share about £600,000 of profit each year with staff.

Founded in 2010, the agency's clients range from the BBC and government departments such as the Home Office and Cabinet Office to fast-food chain McDonald's and Lloyds Bank.

Changing ownership

The decision by BritainThinks to give its staff a stake in the business is part of a growing trend by PR companies to share the spoils of success with their employees.

It comes just weeks after Richmond & Towers announced it had become Britain’s first top 150 PR agency to be 100 per cent employee-owned.

And last May Clear Marketing Communications transferred ownership of the business to its 30 employees.

Other examples of comms consultancies to have transitioned to becoming majority employee-owned firms include PR and digital agency Cirkle and Manchester-based Tangerine. 

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