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HLM Architects’ Employee Ownership Journey


HLM Architects is about to celebrate its first anniversary as an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) on the 23rd December.

The HLM team have always prided themselves on their culture, which has been recognised by winning Employee of the Year at the AJ100 Awards for the last two years in a row. It was therefore a natural progression for the shareholders to pass the ownership of the business to the people who help to make it a success and keep this culture at the forefront of the business operations.

We have learned from the last 18 months that agility, resilience, entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking are hugely important to businesses. These strengths have helped us to adapt and respond to the new challenges and bounce forward with new ways of working. Our transition last December could therefore not have been more timely, as it has provided us with an amazing framework to harness this strength, and the voices of all of our employees. It has prompted us to think differently about our future whilst continuing to produce ‘Thoughtful Design’ to support our wider business community and improve wellbeing.

Watch our short video here:

HLM_Architects_EOT_Announcement from HLM Architects on Vimeo.

As members of the Employee Ownership Association, HLM recently attended the 3-day annual conference, where best practice and insights are shared. Managing Director, Karen Mosley, a key driver in the transition was a guest speaker at the event where she shared HLM’s experiences and reasons why it was important and also was a perfect fit for the future of HLM.

‘Its more than just a business model. It means we’re a place where voices will be heard and where ideas will be realised. It will help us to not only do well but also to do good. For the benefit of each other, our communities and our wider environment’ Karen Mosley, Managing Director HLM Architects

We’re firm believers that employee ownership engages employees, giving them both a stake and a say in the business in which they work, and the Employee Ownership Association has directly stimulated more Welsh businesses to adopt this approach. The evidence of the positive effects of employee ownership demonstrates that businesses like HLM Architects under employee ownership are more resilient, with higher levels of productivity and greater levels of workplace satisfaction.

HLM Architects Chair Richard O’Neil said:

“Our people-centric practice has a special culture fostering our heritage and focusing on our future. So, it is a natural progression in transferring ownership for the benefit of the people who are committed to our success – our staff.  The Trust enables everyone to play an even bigger role in shaping the future of our practice and share in our collective success. Our employee ownership is far more than just a business model. It’s about creating a place where we can continue to channel ideas, be truly innovative and find solutions to ensure that we don’t just do well, but that we also do good – for the benefit of each other, our clients and the communities we work with, as well as our environment.”

The pandemic challenged the way we worked, however emerging from lockdown as an EOT provides all colleagues with a sense of connectivity, even when we can’t physically be together. In a post-pandemic world, the EOT model gives employees a sense of purpose; a bond that will not be broken, and supports us in our belief that everything is connected. By becoming an EOT, we are empowering employees and allowing them to flourish, which in turn benefits the business.


In 1963, students David Hutchison, Graham Locke and Tony Monk (HLM) won a design competition for the new Paisley Civic Centre and this would lead to the formation of Hutchison Locke and Monk (now HLM Architects) in 1964.

The Paisley project was the second largest public sector project since the second world war and this iconic public building became the foundations from which our social architecture philosophy would grow. HLM Architects has subsequently built a reputation for design excellence and expertise across our key sectors with a focus on solving our client’s challenges and mindful of the impact that design can have on people, communities and society.

Places of education that inspire, healthcare environments that nurture, homes that are part of thriving communities, and infrastructure that is sustainable in every sense. It is this sense of social purpose that drives us on and is at the heart of everything we do.

Our services cover Architecture, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Masterplanning and Environmental Sustainability.


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