Make has always been 100% employee-owned. When setting out to form a new practice in 2004, Make founder Ken Shuttleworth wanted to do something different. He imagined a democratic workplace where everyone’s opinions mattered, ideas were free-flowing and decisions were made together.
He quickly landed on the ‘John Lewis model’, in which every employee is an owner, receives an annual profit share and has a say in how the business is run. By the time we opened our doors, Ken had signed away his ownership rights and placed the company into an employee trust.
This business model has provided a robust foundation for building an incredibly successful practice. In just 14 years, we’ve grown to more than 150 employees across studios in London, Hong Kong and Sydney. Our structure has turned out to be a strong factor in recruitment and retention.
Today we rank 24th in the Architects’ Journal AJ100, a ranking of the UK’s biggest architectural practices, and in 2016 were named AJ100 Employer of the Year.
Our employee-owned structure has proven to be the perfect fit for our collaborative culture. Together, they create a workplace of equals, regardless of role or seniority.
Decision-making is a big part of it. In the Make Forum, Makers discuss issues such as performance reviews, design process, diversity and knowledge-sharing. This transparent consultation process provides a platform for Makers to voice their questions, concerns, interests and opinions – all of which feed into the decisions we make.
The annual profit share is another key benefit of employee ownership. It’s a perk that makes everyone that much more invested in the success of the company, which ultimately benefits both employees and clients.