Being employee owned elevates employees’ entrepreneurial mindsets



At ustwo studios, every employee is an owner. We call them Partners. As Partners, our employees act collectively like entrepreneurs to focus on growth.

In 2022, our founders John “Sinx” Sinclair and Matthew “Mills” Miller transitioned the majority of their equity in ustwo studios to the employees. This was made possible by an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) as a mechanism for transferring the majority of the equity from the owners to the employees, current and future. The innovative legal framework was put in place by the UK’s Finance Act 2014, and over 1,000 companies have become employee-owned since its inception. An EOT is unique in that it allows the shareholders to sell their equity on day one, but it is paid for gradually by the business through future profits and growth. 

The future growth and direction of ustwo studios now sits with “ustwobies” as the majority owners. Our founders placed their bets on “ustwobies” and in doing so have set the foundation for all “ustwobies” to have an entrepreneurial mindset focused on growth. In our transition to being majority employee-owned, we’ve seen this mindset manifest through increased collaboration, a contribution culture and commercial awareness.

Increased collaboration: unleashing collective genius

Sinx and Mills first crafted the concept of “unleashing the collective genius” with ustwo studios’ manifesto back in 2014.  The concept describes the importance of collaboration in a rapidly changing world – it’s impossible for one person to keep up with all the knowledge; we have to collaborate to not become redundant, to stay ahead of the market.

Employee ownership is an extension of this ethos. We are unleashing the collective genius – but as owners. Owners think differently. They think about short-term and long-term. They think about external and internal. They think less about the individual and more about the collective. They think equally about profit, people and planet. ustwo studios’ future growth is not being thought about by one owner,  it is being thought about by over one hundred owners, each with a diverse set of skills, backgrounds and experiences. Applying that collective genius to growth is powerful for ustwo and our clients. It allows us to change at pace to continue to imagine and launch breakthrough digital products for our clients, bringing the collective energy and experience to each client challenge.

Contribution culture: empowerment through ownership

Owners have deep care for their business, their employees, their clients and their communities meaning they typically go above and beyond for any of them.  This is no different for “ustwobies” in their capacity as owners, who are consistently trying to raise the bar for their clients, colleagues and communities. They do this through a culture of contribution.

Contribution culture is about embedding an owner’s mindset within their roles. This empowerment allows “ustwobies” to channel their deep care into actions that significantly impact the business’s strategic goals. Whether it’s developing BCorp initiatives, recruiting top talent, designing impact measurement frameworks, or experimenting with AI, these contributions collectively drive significant momentum for ustwo’s growth.

Commercial awareness: sharing in financial success

As a majority employee-owned business, employees share in the profits. They are financially motivated for the company to do well because they know that their efforts and impact is directly benefiting them and their colleagues. “ustwobies” want to know how the company is doing financially and how they can influence financial results.

There is a level of transparency that comes along with being employee-owned.  We have quarterly updates on how we are tracking against financial targets and OKRs.  Everyone becomes commercially aware of where the business is and where the business needs to go.  As owners, “ustwobies” can then consider how their day to day decisions can align with the financial goals of the business.

Employee-owned businesses are redefining what “entrepreneurship” means for the employee.  For many employee-owned businesses, including in the tech and digital space, it has become a catalyst for growth. It is really meaningful for us to be recognised on the E2E Tech 100 list and a recognition that all our employees can celebrate as owners.

To find out more about ustwo studios and how we help businesses like Google, BlackRock and Peloton grow with breakthrough digital products, visit us at ustwo.com



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