As the theme of the conference was “bridging the divide”, our talk explored how employee directors in the UK might have a role in bridging the gap between management and employees. Employee directors are becoming more common, particularly with the increasing popularity of employee ownership trusts (EOTs) and it is important that such directors understand, amongst other things, the scope of their responsibilities as a director and how that should be distinguished from their responsibilities as an employee. The talk also covered the German two-tier supervisory board system and the Mondragon management model to discuss potential learning points for UK employee directors.
Interesting questions were raised by the audience on areas such as whether the recent Thomas Cook collapse and the sudden unemployment faced by its thousands of staff would be a catalyst for a greater push to employee directors in companies and employee ownership. There was also discussion on the performance of the John Lewis Partnership, the most well-known employee-owned company, and the future of Western economies generally as the number of companies and industries currently in the news for being under pressure and struggling seems to be continually growing. Radical change might soon be incoming, and employee directors could be a part of that change.
To download our material for the conference, please click here.