Global chemicals group, Scott Bader, has been shortlisted in two categories at this year’s Business Culture Awards. The company is a successful contender in the ‘Best Employee Voice’ and ‘Best International’ initiatives, following a rigorous two-year research and internal communications programme that led to important changes to its employee-owned structure. This project has also secured Scott Bader a finalist place in the Northamptonshire Business Excellence Awards (NBEA) for ‘Big Business of the Year.’
The Business Culture Awards is an international scheme celebrating a diverse set of organisations that have recognised the impact great culture has on continuing performance. Organisations including Avviva, Lloyd’s Banking Group, Cambridge University Press and AstraZeneca UK – alongside Scott Bader – have been selected on the strength of the deliberate action they’ve taken to better engage and empower their colleagues.
Scott Bader’s nomination comes on the back of a review of its Constitution – a vital communications tool that sets out what it means to be an employee-owned business. The company shares were ‘gifted’ to colleagues in 1951 and it became one of the first UK organisations to pioneer a model that would protect Scott Bader from ever being sold and allow its members (colleagues) to have a heavy influence on both its commercial and charitable activities. This has allowed Scott Bader to build long-term partnerships with its customers and suppliers. In 2022, the leadership teams recognised that it was time to bring The Constitution bang-up-to-date and in doing so give their 800+ colleagues – the company’s ‘owners’ – an even greater voice on what matters most to them.
“We invited staff and wider stakeholders to help us shelve from our governance and structure what was no longer considered fit for purpose,” says CEO, Kevin Matthews. “Our ultimate goal was to give colleagues the opportunity to have their say and to help us amplify everything we’re doing to make a positive impact – wherever we are in the world.”
Led by a dedicated steering group Scott Bader set about ensuring every one of its colleagues, in every single location, feels heard, valued and included in how the business moves forward. Crucially, the company appointed its first, full-time, independent representative to uphold industrial democracy across all geographical and operational areas of the business.
Alongside creating this new role, a series of interviews, surveys, webinars, videos, newsletters and polls have shaped an ongoing programme of activity aimed at extracting meaningful data, generating conversations and galvanising company representatives into truly embracing the responsibility that comes with being an owner.
Importantly this work is already leading to greater engagement, globally, with record levels of participation (83%) at the AGM where colleagues voted overwhelmingly in favour (95%) of the proposed changes arising from the consultation piece. In response, ‘The Constitution’ has been simplified and a Members’ Guide has been created – alongside a new animation – clearly setting out the essence of the business and the brilliant ways in which everyone continues to benefit from founder, Ernest Bader’s, forward-thinking philosophies.
Winners of The Business Culture Awards 2023 will be announced in London’s West End, on the 15th November.