Tackling the cost-of-living crisis – the EO way

Friday 23rd June is Employee Ownership (EO) Day, and we’re marking this special date with a number of events and activities, including a series of blog posts looking at different aspects of Gripple’s Employee Ownership business model.

In this blog, we talk to Gripple’s Recruitment Manager, Emma Hibbert, about how Employee Ownership has given the company the freedom to help its employees through the cost-of-living crisis.

So, Emma, could you describe the help that’s been given to employees affected by the rising cost of living?

"As an employee-owned (EO) organisation, our people are central to absolutely everything we do. So when the cost-of-living crisis hit, we took swift action to support our employees and their families.

Our lowest paid workers received an immediate pay rise of £1,000, followed by all employees receiving an early pay rise in the autumn. This resulted in a 28% pay increase overall for our lowest paid employees, something the business is extremely proud of.

We thought about other ways to help employees, including one initiative to give everyone LED light bulbs to help reduce energy bills. To cut the cost of groceries, we gave all employees 50% off food from our in-house catering facility at GLIDE House in Sheffield, with field-based employees receiving supermarket vouchers.

We didn’t forget our retirees either and were delighted to send them all a one-off payment to help with winter energy bills."

What other support has been made available to employees?

"We’ve put together a comprehensive package of support for our employees, including running a series of financial wellbeing workshops to help with household budgeting, pensions and financial planning.

Last November, we held our own ‘Talk Money’ week, where we emailed useful money saving tips to employees every day. It proved so popular that we’ve kept it going once a week, and people even submit their own money saving hints and tips to share with everyone else!

All of this is part of a wider package of support which focuses on health and wellbeing. For example, all employees benefit from Bupa membership, free gym memberships and money off healthcare services, leisure activities, dining out and more, through the Paycare scheme."

How did all of this come about, and why did you take the decision to offer this support?

"As an EO, we have employee representatives who sit on our board, GLIDE, and help to guide the company.

GLIDE (Growth Led Innovation Driven Employee company), is our employee ownership model, which represents all the shareholder members who work at Gripple and our partner companies.

The decision to offer this support was taken very early on in the cost-of-living crisis, and it was wholeheartedly supported by all the directors, including Michael Hodgson, Chair of GLIDE.

In terms of why we did it, it’s simply about looking after our people. That’s our number one priority. If we look after our employees and make sure they feel happy and cared for, we all benefit."

What feedback have you received from employees?

"Oh, we’ve had amazing feedback. Everyone has really engaged with the help and support on offer. The salary increases were particularly well received, because people were so worried about paying their bills. Some employees got quite emotional about it, because it’s made such a big difference to their lives."

How do you think it has benefited Gripple as a company?

"Ultimately, if you look after your people, they give it back in spades. As an EO, our people are committed to Gripple’s long-term success. They feel involved, valued, listened to and looked after.

That results in higher retention, increased employee satisfaction and reduced absenteeism. All of which leads to higher productivity and game-changing creativity."

Do you think these initiatives are due to Gripple being an employee-owned organisation?

"Absolutely. I think it would be rare to find this level of support in companies that have external shareholders to report to. Other companies just don’t have the freedom that we have at Gripple.

We’re the masters of our own destiny, and for us, helping our people through a really difficult time was a no-brainer. We can, so why wouldn’t we?"

How is Gripple spreading the message on EO Day?

"EO (Employee Ownership) Day, which takes place on 23rd June, is celebrated by employee owners, EO businesses and supporters across the UK, to raise awareness of the benefits of employee ownership.

We are delighted to be hosting the 11th annual EO Day at GLIDE House in Sheffield, in association with the EOA (Employee Ownership Association) and The Ownership Hub in South Yorkshire. It is a fantastic way to show our commitment to employee ownership and to demonstrate to other businesses the many benefits it brings."

For more information about Employee Ownership please visit

Tags: Corporate

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