Celebrating Employee Ownership Day

At Hedges Law, we’re proud to be an employee owned business that puts our team at the heart of everything we do. Our company structure means that everyone who works for Hedges owns shares in it, has a voice and enjoys a stake in its success.

There are many advantages to this system, from the increased commitment it encourages from our team to the added focus on entrepreneurship and career progression.

To mark National Employee Ownership Day our Head of Family Law Zoe Rose spoke to Alexandra Rae, CEO of Wise Investments, to discuss what it’s like to work for and run an employee owned business.

The ethos behind employee ownership

To recognise the outstanding work of our employees, Hedges Law became employee owned in May 2021. By giving ownership to the team, we aim to empower every employee to continue delivering the same exceptional service that our clients so greatly value.

“The ethos behind employee ownership underlines every decision we make as a company,” said Zoe. “Our priority is to make decisions which will benefit everyone, and this is something I really value in my place of work.”

Just like Hedges, Wise Investments is an employee owned business and has been for the last 11 years.

Alex explained: “Employee ownership is really important to our company ethos as well – it means everyone is focused on making our business successful in the long term and keen to make sure our clients are well looked after.

“While we have no external stakeholders, I do see our shareholders every day in the office as they are my colleagues. This puts a certain amount of pressure on me as CEO, but in a good way, as it ensures our staff and clients are kept in mind in every decision I make for the business.”

The benefits for recruitment

“Being employee owned has definitely helped us with our recruitment,” insisted Alex. “In almost all cases it’s been a factor when people have applied for the role and we have found most applicants are generally very excited about working for a business with this type of model.

“There is a lot of research available that shows that having a stake in the business you work in motivates staff and ultimately retains them for longer and this is certainly something we have found at Wise.”

Zoe agreed: “The fact that Hedges is employee owned was one of the first things which attracted me to the company when I was looking for a new job opportunity. It’s very unusual for a law firm to be employee owned, so this aspect really makes the firm stand out from the crowd.”

Employee ownership or equity partnership?

“There remains a common stereotype that a career in law is primarily a field for white males from a privileged background,” said Zoe. “This stereotype is in part propped up by the traditional equity partnership model which most law firms still favour. The equity partnership model is based on only a few senior people in a company having a stake in its success.

“Employee ownership, on the other hand, means every single person who works for a business has a stake in its success and thus ensures a high level of commitment from the most junior as well as the most senior members of the team.

“Everyone in the Hedges team becomes what we call a ‘Hedgeholder,’ a play on ‘shareholder.’ No matter what job they do, they’re equally valued and can make a difference to the way the company is run.”

A holistic outlook

“One of the key ways in which employee ownership changes any company is that it encourages you to think beyond your own department and view the company as a whole,” said Zoe.

“In other firms where I have worked in the past, different departments can pull in different directions, whereas employee ownership makes people think holistically about the whole firm.

“I would strongly encourage other companies to consider making the move to employee ownership. It’s a fantastic way to develop the engagement of every team member, and to make your business more productive and resilient.”

Alex added: “Every single person in our business is an owner and is encouraged to think as an owner. For me, I find we all get involved in developing the business in a different way to perhaps a non employee owned business.”

Find out more about Employee Ownership at Hedges here.