Blackbridge Communications, the leading employer marketing agency, today announces that it has become employee owned.
A trust run on behalf of employees acquired 65% of the shares in the award-winning agency on October 1.
Blackbridge is the first employer marketing agency to change to employee ownership. It joins a forward-thinking and elite – but growing – group of around 470 UK businesses, including John Lewis Partnership, Aardman Animations, Riverford Organics and Richer Sounds.
The London-based agency, whose clients include Amazon, Aviva and Rolls-Royce, launched in 2004 with a mission to help corporate clients and other ambitious organisations market themselves as employers and attract the best candidates.
It has built its reputation on excellent delivery, which in turn has led to a regular flow of new business from referrals.
Founder and MD Tony Andrews (above) said: “It is an incredibly proud moment for Blackbridge to become the first employer marketing agency owned by its employees.
“The board made this decision because all the evidence shows that shared ownership delivers a superior business performance. Employee-owned businesses are more entrepreneurial in outlook, more effective at retaining talent and more committed to corporate social responsibility.
“Ultimately, this progressive decision will make our work for clients even better. We may be the first in our sector to make this change but we won’t be the last.”
In common with most businesses, Blackbridge employees are mainly working from home during the latest uptick in Covid-19 cases – so Andrews drove to the homes of some employees to tell them the news personally.
He said: “Our people are the reason for our sustained success over the last 16 years and I wanted to deliver the good news to them face to face – or, in the circumstances, mask to mask.”
Employee ownership status in the UK is conferred on a firm where 25 per cent or more of it is owned by employees, or on their behalf by a trust. There has been a 20 per cent growth in employee ownership in London since 2017.