Make has always been 100% employee owned. When setting out to form a new practice in 2004, our founder Ken Shuttleworth had big ideas about what Make could be. He wanted to create something different, imagining a workplace where everyone had a say and solutions were found together. He decided on a structure where every employee is an owner, can influence decisions, and receives an annual profit share.
Today Make is an international practice with 150 employees across three studios, and employee ownership is still a big part of who we are. It’s a perfect fit with our culture, which values cooperation, not competition. Ideas, not egos.
Director Jason Parker elaborates: “From a design point of view, the whole process is energised. There’s no top-down instruction, which is empowering. Design requires lots of directions and voices, so the more diverse and collaborative the teams, the better. Employee ownership underpins that.”
It translates into a sense of pride and community amongst Makers, who regularly bring friends and family to the studio, and socialise with each other outside of work. We’re culturally connected to each city we work in, but the Make ethos flourishes in each studio, uniting us as One Make.
As a business model, employee ownership has provided a robust foundation for a successful business. It’s proved a strong factor in recruitment and retention, created a space for internal transparency and feedback, and weathered the inevitable ups and downs of the global economy, as well as crises like Covid-19. It’s a true asset.