When we founded Zoonou from a home office, our initial aim was to make it through the first 6-12 months. Zoonou is still here and flourishing 15 years later – something we are both very proud of. It’s also a testament to the many great team members who have helped make Zoonou a success.
At the forefront of our minds has always been a desire to create a place where people enjoy working and are proud to be a part of our team. This approach has helped underpin our continued growth and development – we hope it will continue to do so in the future.
We’ve always challenged one another, for the good of the right outcome. That ability to openly debate and find a path that works for our team has been invaluable. We’ve spoken up when we’ve felt things aren’t right and acknowledged each other’s contributions when we’ve had success.
As we begin the process of transitioning control to the people who make Zoonou what it is, we hope to keep alive that spirit of challenge and engagement whilst recognising in the truest sense the contributions made by our team.
Transitioning to an Employee Ownership Trust
Having considered trade sales and private equity investment, we chose instead to move forward independently as an employee-owned business and in July 2023 successfully transitioned ownership of Zoonou to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).
Alongside Garry and Rhodri, we have sold 100% of the company to Zoonou Trustees Ltd, a trust governed by our Board of Trustees. This means that everyone – while employed at Zoonou – is effectively a co-owner of the company. It ensures Zoonou remains in the hands of the people who drive it forward every day and everyone shares in its success.
Zoonou is in a solid position with strong foundations. We hope that our Trustees will work with the Zoonou Board to support delivery of their new strategic plan as they prepare to guide the business on its next steps.
Our hopes and aspirations for the future
Looking to the future, Employee Ownership secures the business, ensuring values and practices that have supported our growth to date can continue to do so. As a team, we have the opportunity to build upon the fantastic reputation we’ve worked hard to earn, on our own terms, independently and ethically making the right decisions.
Zoonou can continue to enjoy working with great clients, on projects where we can have a genuine positive impact. Great work provides the opportunity for individuals to develop and flourish. It’s our hope that the Board continue investment into our team, supporting, empowering, promoting and developing from within.
We’ve always embraced change in our service offerings, our team structure and our policies. This ability to adapt successfully has helped us stay nimble. Growth often requires change, continuing to be comfortable with that is important.
We have both felt personal responsibility for ensuring the financial success of Zoonou. As we now place the business into the hands of our team, we hope a sense of commercial awareness can develop across a wider base. Profitability within the business is important. It’s part of what allows us to make the right decisions, to support our team and achieve our goals through internal investment. Ownership in all senses means taking accountability for profitability. Profitability helps support freedom of choice.
Our values are important, they should continue to inform our attitudes and approach.
We observe our own and collective behaviours – we choose to reflect instead of reacting. Taking a step back helps us to maintain our focus and self-awareness, so we make thoughtful and intentional decisions.
Curiosity is at our core. We see the potential in ourselves and in others; nurture inquisitive ways of thinking through exploration, investigation, and learning; we embrace a growth mindset. We tackle challenges head-on, seeing them as opportunities to learn and grow.
Bring optimism and enthusiasm. Positivity in all things is not always possible but we strive to approach every interaction or situation with a positive outlook, assuming the best of every person we interact with. Attitude and energy are infectious – be the catalyst for happiness.
We are our people. Our shared goals build bonds that create trusted and open spaces where our team can bring their whole selves – authentic and diverse. We are accountable to one another, value each other’s opinions and communicate with clarity and kindness.
Working together to secure our company’s future
As we focus on adapting to our new employee ownership model in the coming months and years, we’ll develop a collective responsibility for the growth, sustainability, and success of the business.
We’ll need to take that responsibility seriously; it really is the case that we are now all here together guiding the business forward and making choices that will shape the future of Zoonou.
We believe that staying true to our values and building on the positive culture we already have will ensure Zoonou remains the best business it can be for our clients and for ourselves.