Posts Tagged ‘innovation’
Matthew Close o Ganolfan Cydweithredol Cymru sy’n archwilio argymhelliad
Comisiwn Cwmnïau Cydweithredol a Chydfuddiannol Cymru bod egwyddorion
cydweithredol a chydfuddiannol yn cael eu cynnwys yn y broses ddeddfwriaethol
Mae lansiad adroddiad Comisiwn Cwmnïau Cydweithredol a
Chydfuddiannol Cymru yn cynnig llawer o gyfleoedd i’r sector cydweithredol yng
Nghymru. Yr hyn sy’n ddiddorol iawn yw’r argymhelliad ar gyfer ystyried modelau
busnes cydweithredol a chydfuddiannol yn holl bolisïau a chynlluniau newydd y
Llywodraeth, yn rhan o ymrwymiad gorfodol Llywodraeth Cymru i wneud Datblygu
Cynaliadwy yn brif egwyddor drefniadol yn ei rhaglen ddeddfwriaethol.
Mae Deddf Llywodraeth Cymru 2006 yn ei gwneud yn orfodol i Lywodraeth Cymru
osod cynllun ar gyfer hyrwyddo Datblygu Cynaliadwy wrth weithredu ei
swyddogaethau, ac aeth ati gyflawni hyn ar ffurf Cymru’n Un, Cenedl Un Blaned. Mae’r ddogfen hon yn diffinio Datblygu
Cynaliadwy fel a ganlyn:
“gwella lles economaidd,
cymdeithasol ac amgylcheddol pobl a chymunedau, gan sicrhau ansawdd bywyd gwell
i’n cenhedlaeth ni a chenedlaethau’r dyfodol.” [i]
Un o brif bwyntiau ffocws y Cynllun yw sicrhau economi gynaliadwy sy’n
hydwyth i effeithiau negyddol newidiadau economaidd byd eang ac sy’n cefnogi
twf busnes cynaliadwy. Mae busnesau a sefydlwyd trwy fodelau cydweithredol a
chydfuddiannol wedi dangos eu bod yn fwy hydwyth i newidiadau economaidd
niweidiol. Ar hyn o bryd mae 446 o sefydliadau cydweithredol yn gweithredu yng
nghalon cymunedau ledled Cymru, sy’n eiddo i’r bobl yn y cymunedau hynny ac yn
cael eu gweithredu ganddynt, ac sy’n cyfrannu gwerth £1.54 biliwn o drosiant
blynyddol i economi Cymru.[ii] O fusnesau
bach fel That Useful Company a
Barod, i gwmnïau mwy megis Dulas a’r cymdeithasu tai cydfuddiannol newydd,
mae busnesau cydweithredol a chydfuddiannol yng Nghymru yn enghreifftiau da o
gwmnïau sy’n gallu cefnogi’r weledigaeth o economi gynaliadwy a nodir yng Nghynllun
Datblygu Cynaliadwy Llywodraeth Cymru.
Pwynt ffocws arall Cymru’n Un, Cenedl
Un Blaned yw’r ymdrech i sicrhau bod gan Gymru gymdeithas gref, iach a
chynhwysol. Mae mynediad i dai o safon mewn marchnad dai amrywiol yn cael ei
nodi yn y Cynllun fel dangosydd allweddol ar gyfer cymdeithas gynaliadwy. Mae
modelau cydweithredol a chydfuddiannol eisoes yn chwarae rôl allweddol yn y
maes hwn. Mae cwmnïau cydfuddiannol tai cymunedol
megis RCT Homes wedi’u strwythuro yn y fath fodd er mwyn galluogi
eu tenantiaid i bob pwrpas ddod yn rhanddeiliaid, a rhoi llais iddynt o ran y modd y mae’r
sefydliad yn cael ei redeg a’i weithredu.
Mae ein hymchwil diweddar hefyd wedi
dangos bod galw am fodelau tai cydweithredol yng Nghymru, sy’n cynnig y cyfle i
bobl ddatblygu cymunedau cryf, cynhwysol ac ar yr un pryd darparu dewis hyfyw
arall yn lle opsiynau prif ffrwd y farchnad dai, y mae mwy a mwy o bobl yn cael
anhawster cael mynediad iddi. Mae ein Prosiect Tai Cydweithredol yn darparu
cymorth i sefydliadau sy’n archwilio’r potensial o ddatblygu prosiectau tai
cydweithredol ledled Cymru neu sydd wrthi’n gwneud hynny.
cydweithredol yn amlwg mewn sawl rhan arall o Gymru. Mae llawer o drefi a
phentrefi yn elwa ar fusnesau cydweithredol cymunedol, sy’n fusnesau a
sefydlwyd i ddarparu gwasanaethau i’w hardal benodol nhw. Gall y rhain amrywio
o siopau a thafarndai cymunedol megis Siop y Bobl a Saith Seren, i
sefydliadau chwaraeon megis Ymddiriedolaeth Cefnogwyr Wrecsam. Mae
cynlluniau cyfranddaliadau cymunedol yn enghraifft arall o werthoedd a modelau cydweithredol
ar waith, oherwydd maent yn galluogi grwpiau a sefydliadau i dynnu cyfalaf o’r
union gymunedau y mae eu mentrau yn ceisio bod o fudd iddynt. O adfywio
cymunedol i gynlluniau pŵer amgylcheddol megis ffermydd gwynt cymunedol a
gweithfeydd hydro-electrig, maent yn cynnig cyfle i’r sefydliadau hyn ffynnu
gan sicrhau datblygu cynaliadwy gwirioneddol.
Mae’r enghreifftiau hyn yn dangos bod modelau busnes cydweithredol a chydfuddiannol
yn gallu cynyddu’n fawr y debygoliaeth o gynhyrchu economi a chymdeithas
gynaliadwy yng Nghymru. Rydym o’r farn y gallai’r argymhelliad hwn roi lle
blaenllaw i gydweithredu yn ein proses ddeddfwriaethol, ac mae’n cynnig cyfle
unigryw i Lywodraeth Cymru gynnwys egwyddorion ac ethos cydweithredu wrth
wraidd y tirlun gwleidyddol yng Nghymru.
Un: Cenedl Un Blaned: Cynllun Datblygu Cynaliadwy Llywodraeth Cymru.
Llywodraeth Cymru, 2009, tud.8
[ii] Cynhenid: Yr Economi Gydweithredol yng Nghymru
2013. Cyhoeddwyd gan Co-operatives UK a Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru.
Matthew Close of the Wales Co-operative Centre examines the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission’s recommendation that co-operative and mutual principles are enshrined in the legislative process in Wales.
The launch of the Welsh Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission’s report offers many opportunities for the co-operative sector in Wales. Particularly interesting is the recommendation for co-operative and mutual business models to be considered in all new Government policies and initiatives, as part of the Welsh Government’s mandatory commitment to make Sustainable Development the central organising principle of its legislative programme.
The Government of Wales Act 2006 made it mandatory for the Welsh Government to set out a scheme for promoting Sustainable Development in the exercise of its functions, which it then did in the form of One Wales, One Planet. This document defines Sustainable Development as:
“enhancing the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of people and communities, achieving a better quality of life for our own and future generations.” 
One of the key focus points in of the Scheme is to deliver a sustainable economy that is resilient to the negative impacts of global economic changes and supports sustainable business growth. Businesses that are established through co-operative and mutual models have been shown to be more resilient to adverse economic changes. There are currently 446 co-operative organisations operating at the heart of communities across Wales, owned by and run for the benefit of people within those communities, and contributing £1.54 billion worth of annual turnover to the Welsh economy . From small businesses such as That Useful Company and Barod, to larger companies such as Dulas and the new mutual housing associations, co-operative and mutual businesses in Wales provide good examples of companies that can support the vision of a sustainable economy that the Welsh Government sets out in its Sustainable Development Scheme.
Another focal point of One Wales, One Planet is the drive to ensure Wales has a strong, healthy, inclusive society. Access to quality housing in a diversified housing market is identified in the Scheme as a key indicator of a sustainable society. Co-operative and mutual models are already playing a key role in this area. Community housing mutuals such as RCT Homes are structured in such a way to enable their tenants to effectively become shareholders, giving them a voice in the running and operation of the organisation.
Our recent research has also shown that there is demand for co-operative housing models in Wales, which offer people the chance to build strong, inclusive communities whilst at the same time providing a viable alternative to mainstream housing market options, which more and more people are finding difficult to access. Our Co-operative Housing Project is providing support to organisations who are exploring the potential of or in the process of developing co-operative housing projects across Wales.
Co-operative principles are evident in many other parts of Wales. Many towns and villages are benefitting from community co-operatives, which are businesses established to provide a service to their particular area. These can range from community shops and pubs, such as Siop y Bobl and Saith Seren respectively, to sporting organisations like Wrexham Supporters Trust. Community share schemes are another example of co-operative values and models in action, in that they allow groups and organisations to draw capital from the very communities which their enterprises are seeking to benefit. From community regeneration to environmental power schemes such as community wind farms and hydro-electric plants, they offer a chance for these organisations to flourish whilst delivering real, sustainable development.
These examples show that co-operative and mutual business models can greatly increase the likelihood of producing a sustainable economy and society in Wales. We believe this recommendation could place co-operation at the forefront of our legislative process, and that it offers a unique opportunity for the Welsh Government to enshrine the principles and ethos of co-operation at the heart of the political landscape in Wales.
 One Wales One Planet: The Sustainable
Development Scheme of the Welsh Government. Welsh Government, 2009, pg8
 Homegrown: The Co-operative Economy in Wales
2013. Published by Co-operatives UK and Wales Co-operative Centre.
Social media and marketing expert Natalie Reynolds has won an award for innovation at today’s South Wales Evening Post Women in Business Awards 2013.
Natalie is a founding member of the marketing co-operative consortium That Useful Company which was set up last year with assistance from the Wales Co-operative Centre.
The new company allowed the co-operative’s members to work together on marketing projects and contracts under the umbrella company whilst still remaining specialists in their own fields.
It was Natalie’s idea to find a way of formalising several informal collaboration relationships into a consortium to be able to bid for larger contracts than they could attract as sole traders or as small businesses.
Since its launch in 2012 the co-operative has expanded rapidly, necessitating two office moves and the creation of several jobs.
The co-operative consortium has won a number of marketing contracts where businesses get the benefit of working with specialists across a number of marketing areas including social media, web, design and strategy.
Natalie said, “ I am hoping that even more people will start thinking of working in a similar way as I believe it will help support micro-businesses in the Welsh economy”.
Sarah Owens who helped Natalie and the other members of the co-operative to set up the new business was delighted with the news, “This is such a well deserved award. Natalie and her colleagues have worked so hard to make this co-operative consortium a success and it is great to see them as they reap the benefits. Working together in a formal co-operative consortium is a great way of small enterprises accessing work they couldn’t access by themselves and is an approach that can work across any sector in Wales”.
To find out more about That Useful Company, visit www.thatusefulcompany.co.uk
To find out more about working together in a co-operative consortium, visit http://www.walescooperative.org/working-with-other-businesses
The importance of engagement in employee ownership – five examples from across the UK and across the world.
A number of our Business Succession and Employee Ownership team members visited the UK Employee Ownership Conference in Birmingham recently. Here, Rhian Edwards, Project Manager within our Business Succession Team, discusses the importance that employee engagement has in the employee ownership process – and in developing focussed business growth.
The employee ownership conference is an annual event held in Birmingham by the Employee Ownership Association. Although employee ownership is seen by many as a niche approach, there are lessons that can be learnt from companies utilising employee ownership successfully from around the world. Employee ownership can be a sensible long term exit strategy for business owners – but it can also be an amazingly powerful tool for developing employee engagement and innovation.
Some of the key similarities between the businesses that we observed at the conference included:
Focus on innovation – each of the companies presenting focussed on innovation and company growth
Focus on engagement – real, positive engagement with employees or employee-owners was seen as integral to the companies’ growth and success
Focus on business – whichever approach the companies used to engage with employees and promote the employee ownership approach, all the companies focussed on doing business and doing it well. There may not always have been as large a focus on profits or shareholder return but where that was the case, the emphasis was always on business growth and personal fulfilment across the company.
Here are five examples of companies that struck us as interesting and good examples of how employee ownership can work in practice.
Sector: Advanced Materials
WL Gore is a US based multinational with offices and production units all over the world. It is largely employee owned and has been named one of the best workplaces in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, and Italy for several years in a row. Perhaps most famous for inventing the Gore-tex material used in outdoor clothing, Gore has created numerous products for electronic signal transmission, fabric laminates, medical implants and fibres technologies for diverse industries across the world.
Belief in the individual and small teams is core to the culture at Gore. They believe people need to know each other to trust each other – so no plant has more than 180 people as they believe that any more than that makes it impossible to know everyone personally. Their employee ownership culture is based on three aspects:
- Interest & Motivation
- Business Needs
- Knowledge & Skills
Gore believe that innovation and new product development comes from creating balanced teams with leaders that evolve from each team. That’s right, the team leader role defers to the person who is most knowledgeable about the topic under discussion. Salary levels relate to an individuals ranking in a team although salaries are kept confidential. This unusual approach is highly successful and has led to Gore earning a position on FORTUNE’s annual list of the U.S. “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2011 with a worldwide sales of over £3billion.
Clansman Dynamics is a Scottish manufacturing tools company based in Lanarkshire. It is an award winning company that develops and supplies high technology solutions for material handling in harsh working environments such as forges and steelworks. It has been employee owned since 2009.
The company is in the process of developing its employee engagement and the feeling of ownership within its employee base, but working hard to achieve it. They hold regular ‘pizza meetings’ where a different employee from the workforce will be tasked with presenting key company figures to their peers – this encourages employees to take responsibility for understanding the financial data that effects them as owners and as employees. The company has encountered increased levels of productivity since moving into employee ownership.
The fact that the company is owned by its employees, who live close to the factory, means that the company is ‘glued’ to Scotland. Its ownership structure means that the company can’t be bought by an external company, stripped and moved elsewhere – a lesson that we in Wales should consider carefully.
AG Parfett & Sons
Sector: Retail (Wholesale)
AG Parfett & Sons is a family-run cash and carry business split over 6 sites in the North West of England. In 2008 the family sold 55% of the shares in the business to an Employee Ownership Trust which holds the shares on behalf of the employees. The Trust is committed to buying the remaining 45% of the shares in the future to achieve the aim of Parfetts becoming fully employee owned. The company vision enshrines employee ownership as an integral element of its strategy:
“To continue to grow a successful and profitable business, incorporating the values and ethics of an employee owned company, and to encourage a collective responsibility, that recognises the importance of the welfare and development of both employees and customers.”
The family didn’t consult with employees before placing an element of ownership of the company into the Employee Benefit Trust. The company has found that middle management have been the biggest doubters of the merits of employee ownership – it can be seen as a threat to their position within the business, and in Parfetts case they are not yet fully engaged in the process. This demonstrates that it is essential to put in place effective communication strategies during the change to employee ownership – but also to ensure that good communication is enshrined within the company culture as the benefits and responsibilities that come with employee ownership are taken on board by the employees.
Gripple is an employee owned manufacturing company that was built on the success of a wire tensioning device aimed at farming and agriculture. Innovation is the foundation of their culture. They have created new products in different sectors including construction. In 2003, they opened a sister company, Loadhog, focussed on developing transit solutions such as the Loadhog Lid, the Smartstak frame, and a pallet/dolly hybrid, the Pally.
Gripple insists that all employees take a stake in the business as a condition of employment. The investment is £1000 (or local equivalent) into GLIDE (Growth Led, Innovation Driven, Employee Company), a company limited by guarantee which represents all shareholders and works on democratic principles of one member, one vote. Glide is the receiver of gifted shares from the company’s founder. Eventually, over 60% of the shares will be owned by GLIDE and the employees.
GLIDE was created to act as a custodian for the shares and harness the company culture. Innovation is built into the strategic business planning and future targets in the Gripple group of companies. They aim for 10% growth per annum but with turnover to come from 25% new products every four years. The company sees itself as having a responsibility to invest in social and financial well being, sports and social facilities and most importantly, product and process improvements and patented technology to support its ambitious innovation driven growth targets.
The Childbase Partnership employs 1400 staff in 42 settings. It is 67% employee owned and is aiming for 100% within 10 years. Its nursery facilities are of a high standard with 47% of them graded as outstanding by Ofsted when the sector average is about 12%.
The Childbase Partnership endorses an inclusive ethos ‘we all contribute, we all benefit’. Ownership is via a trust with an internal share market. They operate a partnership board which consists of 50% staff as well as external executive directors and a representative from the family that owns the remaining shares. They operate an employee led Partnership Council which has implemented changes to pensions and payment dates, embarks on staff engagement programmes and attends the main company board meeting twice a year.
The company believes that with employee ownership, more people are committed and are more likely to go the extra mile. Employee ownership encourages people to contribute ideas, take responsibility, solve problems and cope with change. In a survey, 88.5% of staff agreed that employee ownership makes a positive difference.
Employee ownership in the Childbase Partnership encourages employees to communicate openly and honestly about the company, which breeds mutual trust.
Communications approaches the company utilises include:
- Bright ideas – individuals get paid for bright ideas that contribute to the running of the company
- Staff conferences and quarterly partnership meetings
- Magazines and intranet communications which feature HR stats and updates from the Managing Director
- Annual roadshows (42 a year)
- Encouraging wide ranging career development opportunities to allow staff to create a ‘career of choice’
- Awards and recognition on a regular basis.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the increased worker engagement has been highly successful – the most highly engaged nurseries in the group are the venues with Ofsted ‘outstanding’ and 100% occupancy rates. Share prices between 2000 and 2011 have risen from £0.40 to £1.18.
Childbase is engaged in a growth strategy that incorporates new builds and taking over existing businesses. The induction process for staff is easier in the new build nurseries but the induction process is becoming easier for staff in purchased nurseries as they know who Childbase are and have a better idea of what to expect from the culture of the company.
These five examples demonstrate the employee ownership and well planned employee engagement can drive business growth. Employee ownership can be more than just an exit strategy – it can be a means of growing a business and increasing job security for every employee.