Blackbridge Communications has become the first employer marketing agency to become majority-owned by its employees.
A trust run on behalf of the London-based agency’s employees acquired 65% of shares in the business on 1 October.
Founder and managing director Tony Andrews 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.”
Blackbridge Communications was launched in 2004 and aims to help corporate clients – including Amazon, Aviva and Rolls-Royce – market themselves as employers and attract the best candidates.
As most of its employees continue to work from home, Andrews drove to the homes of some of Blackbridge’s employees to announce the news.
“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,” he said.
Around 470 UK firms, including John Lewis Partnership, Richer Sounds and Aardman Animations, are employee-owned, or owned by a trust on their behalf.
According to the Employee Ownership Association, employee ownership grew by 28% in 2019 and more than 50% of conversions to employee ownership have occurred since 2017.