Staff at Tayplay take ownership

Play company becomes employee owned

tayplayA Perth-based manufacturer of rope, playground and climbing equipment for the playground and leisure industry has become Scotland’s latest employee-owned business.

The move by Tayplay has seen its 14 members of staff given the opportunity to become owners in the business.

Founded in 1994 by Andrew Hoddle, the company has an annual turnover of £2 million.

Managing director Peter Will said:  “Following the recession we experienced a difficult trading period and we were considering a trade sale. 

“However, we could not agree terms and after a strategic review we decided to look more closely at the employee ownership business model.

“Co-operative Development Scotland conducted a feasibility study and we quickly discovered employee ownership ticked all of our boxes.  No other options were even seriously considered at that stage.” 

An Employee Ownership Trust has acquired a controlling interest and will hold these shares on behalf of the employees.  It is envisaged that they will eventually own 100% of the company.

Mr Will continued:  “We spent quite a bit of time working with specialist advisors such as Alistair Gibb from Scottish Enterprise, Co-operative Development and Co-ownership Solutions, undertaking meetings with the staff to help them understand the concept of employee ownership. 

“Our employees now really believe in the new model and we expect the degree of buy-in to increase now that the deal has gone through.  As the employees begin to see and feel the reality of EO we expect their commitment to the company will grow and it will make recruitment easier.”

There are 78 employee-owned companies in Scotland, with approximately 6,500 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £900m. 

Research shows that selling a company to its employees, or implementing an employee share plan, can boost productivity, increase employee engagement and keep the business in the community.   

Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), Scottish Enterprise’s employee ownership support arm, guided and supported Tayplay’s transition to employee ownership providing advice on the implementation of the new ownership structure. 

CDS director Sarah Deas said: “By becoming employee-owned, the company is safeguarding highly-skilled jobs and keeping specialist skills alive.”

Statistics consistently demonstrate that employee-owned businesses outperform others in terms of higher levels of profitability; improved business resilience during times of recession; increased productivity brought about by higher levels of engagement and enhanced employee wellbeing. 

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