Ethical, B Corp and purpose-led PR agency, Milk & Honey has transferred 55 percent of group shares to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). The means 52 percent of employees are now co-owners, qualifying after just 12 months at the agency

People owned PR

Today’s announcement sees Hive Group — the holding company for Milk & Honey PR in Australia, UK and North America — restructured as an EOT. The four-and-a-half-year-old business has been independently valued at £3.6M by Moore Kingston Smith, the legal firm responsible for setting up the EOT. With 55 percent of Hive Group shares held by a newly created Trust, employees are now majority shareholders in the business. This entitles them to actively influence strategic decisions made by the business, as well as share in profits tax free (up to £3,600 per person per annum). 

Milk & Honey PR founder and CEO, Kirsty Leighton, said, “First and foremost, Milk & Honey is a people business. We have created a sustainable, purpose driven, great place to work — whilst delivering incredible growth, ongoing profitability and outstanding client success. We have always shared profit with our teams, however this new EOT structure means we can legally empower the team to be more actively involved in the direction of their business and do so in a more tax efficient manner. Essentially, ‘In our people we trust’.” 

People first PR

Milk & Honey PR is guided by B Corp principles, becoming one of the first UK agencies to gain certification in 2019. In June, the agency was named as a company within B Corp’s ‘Best for the World™ 2021: Workers List’ — making it a top five percent performer that puts in place, “exemplary employee-friendly practices….” 

A long-standing commitment to employee happiness has also seen Milk & Honey PR gain Investors in People accreditation — qualifying 14th out of 4,000 companies — and win Employer of the Year Award 2020. Additionally, the agency meets PRCA CMS standards — and is the only agency to hold all three accreditations. 

It’s an ethos that has seen Milk & Honey PR double its workforce in the past year alone.

People led PR

The new Employee Ownership Trust is guided by a Team Council, with a remit to scrutinise and guide Hive Group decision-making at the highest level.  

Lizzie Elkin, Milk & Honey Senior Client Executive and new EOT Team Council President, said, “Milk & Honey has always been a place where everyone’s opinion matters, but co-ownership takes this to a new level. We are now part of the strategic decision-making process and will help to guide the agency as it continues to grow. It’s PR by the people, for the people.” 

Tushar Parmar, Milk & Honey Client Manager and new EOT Team Council Trustee, said, “Co-ownership brings a whole new perspective. Everyone here now has a huge opportunity to prove that doing good, is good business for its people, communities and the planet.”   

Today’s EOT news follows hard on the heels of announcements that reinforce the agency’s commitment to progressive, globally responsible and successful business models: 

  • In May, Milk & Honey PR opened its first North American office in New York, led by respected US PR veteran Paul Cohen — joining offices in Australia and the UK. 
  • In April the agency launched its new ‘Purpose’ offering, led by Fiona Gildea, supporting businesses as they become agents for positive change.  
  • In April, Milk & Honey’s Head of Digital, Rachel Proctor joined the all-female board, while Imogen Wallis was promoted to Head of Discovery — strengthening the agency’s digital offering.   

 See PRWeek’s latest piece of coverage sharing the release here.