Pioneering Property Management Company Move To Employee Ownership

Leeds-based property management and urban regeneration business, Creative Space Management, made the progressive move to an employee ownership model, to secure the future of this £1.7m turnover business for its teams operating across the North of England.

Established in 2006, shares in Creative Space Management Ltd had previously been owned by three prominent, northern businesspeople: Chris Brown, Toby Hyam and Paul Taylor. The move to employee ownership effectively transferred all business interests to a Trust, which will manage the shares and bonuses on behalf of the firm’s staff members.

By transferring the shares to an Employee Owned Trust, rather than selling them to private investors, the previous owners wanted to reward their hard-working colleagues and future talent. The move delivered all employees an equal stake in the business and the added potential for annual bonuses based on profits.  Toby Hyam and Paul Taylor remain Directors and two members of the senior management team, Paul Fallon and Simon Walton, were appointed to the Board of Directors.

When making the move there were only around 350 businesses operating from this model in the UK. Household names like John Lewis & Partners have been championing employee ownership for decades, but interest in the approach accelerated when the Government introduced supportive fiscal policies to encourage take-up during the 2010-2015 coalition. 

Paul Taylor, Creative Space Management said: “Whilst employee ownership schemes are becoming more popular, it is still quite unusual for a business operating in our sector to make this move. After looking at all the options, we firmly believe that this is the very best model to secure the long-term stability, success, and growth of Creative Space Management for our employees and our customers. It gives the people who work within all areas of the business a real stake in its future success. This makes for a more robust and competitive business; with motivated, committed, well-informed staff that can deliver exceptional levels of customer service to our public and private sector clients.”

According to the Employee Ownership Association, which in 2017 led on the UK’s largest, independent inquiry into employee ownership, co-owned businesses are more responsive to economic change, they tend to be more successful, competitive, profitable and sustainable. 

Deb Oxley, Chief Executive of the EOA, said: “We congratulate Creative Space Management on its move to employee ownership.

“Businesses that give employees a stake and a say build trust through shared responsibility and shared reward, therefore uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose. This leaves the business in a better position to flex and adapt – key qualities needed to help the UK Build Back Better.”

Established in 2006, Creative Space Management has grown from operating a single creative and digital media centre in Leeds city centre, to managing 40,000 sm of workspace, across Leeds, Sheffield, Rotherham and Newcastle. The successful team comprises a mix of creative, property management, maintenance, urban regeneration and economic development professionals. Collectively they deliver workspace services and placemaking consultancy to hundreds of public and private sector clients in the North of England. 

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