Insights Announcing Our New Employee Trustee Director
02 October 2020

Announcing Our New Employee Trustee Director

Karen Edit v2

We’re delighted to have passed another key milestone in our transition to employee ownership, with the election of Karen Palfreyman as our new Employee Trustee Director.

This new role will represent the views of our 2,300 employee owners at board level, and influence our strategy and direction as a leading public services provider in the UK and Ireland.

Our employee council, which is made up of 10 frontline staff, representing all five of our business pillars, made the difficult decision from a strong line up of candidates and elected Karen. As the new Employee Trustee Director, she will have a pivotal leadership role in shaping the future direction of our Employee Ownership Trust.

Karen from Derbyshire, who has been us for over 3 years and works within our apprenticeship and skills pillar, demonstrated a strong commitment to the organisation and a willingness to collaborate with others to seek new ways of working. She knows that during these unprecedented times there will be challenges ahead and understands that this role carries a responsibility to always keep colleagues’ priorities at the forefront of their mind.

Karen said: “I am delighted to be the first ever elected Employee Trustee Director. Representing the views of employees across all parts of the business is a responsibility I take seriously. Now more than ever, the collective voice of employees needs to be heard at board level. I look forward to engaging with colleagues about forming my early priorities. This is an important step forward and I want to take this opportunity to recognise my colleagues on the Employee Council who have worked hard this year to champion a range of issues. I am proud to be part of a business that ensures its people have a stronger voice at a time of uncertainty during the ongoing pandemic.

The transition during the pandemic hasn’t stopped the drive and ambitions of our new business owners. Seetec Group CEO John Baumback said: “Congratulations must go to Karen Palfreyman for becoming our new Employee Trustee Director. I look forward to working with Karen to further empower our employees to have a say at board level. This is a good opportunity to further embed a culture of collaboration across the business so that colleagues can work closer together to achieve our future growth ambitions. During difficult social and economic times, I believe it is important to give our people a stronger voice at all levels in the business.”

The employee owned sector is growing. More than 50% of its growth has happened since 2017 with figures from the White Rose Study for Employee Ownership report published in June this year showing 178,000 employee owners in the UK are adding a combined sales contribution of £20.1bn to the UK economy.

We joined this growing number of businesses in January, when 51 per cent of shares in the business were transferred to our Employee Owned Trust. The change in structure meant that we became the 16th largest employee owned business in the UK, which was confirmed in a table published this year by the Employee Ownership Association.

The pandemic has highlighted that businesses need to be agile and resilient in their approach. This must not come at a cost of underestimating the impact of putting employees at the heart of building a sustainable business, encouraging greater productivity and more robust governance to establish the building blocks of a business that meets the shift in priorities of our modern society to give workers a greater say.