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- 2021 International Trade
The team at TensCare Ltd attribute their receiving of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade this year to having become employee owned in 2017. They were delighted that Her Majesty The Queen approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation that TensCare Ltd should receive the Award.
TensCare specialises in the design and manufacture of TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) medical devices, providing pain relief, muscle rehabilitation and cosmetic improvement for its product users across the world to help them feel better naturally and improve their quality of life.
Here, the TensCare leadership team explore how transitioning the business from private ownership to employee ownership provided a catalyst for increased employee engagement and employee commitment, that has manifested in a sustained period of growth in their product range, field coverage and profitability over the past four years. Prior to this change of ownership, turnover and profitability in the previous 10 years of private ownership had been static.
Congratulations on being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade. What does it mean for you and your team at TensCare?
Neil Wright, Managing Director: The Award is the most prestigious for any UK business, and this tremendous accolade has been achieved through the energy and endeavour of all the TensCare team, and the relationship and outputs of our supply chain and distribution network.
I hope this recognition will help raise the profile of TensCare as well as boost morale – not just for the team at TensCare but for all our friends and colleagues within our supply chain and distribution network, as we know such awards are the result of a fantastic collaborative cross team effort.
What are the key ingredients for driving growth in International Trade that led to TensCare receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise?
Lisa Slavova, Sales Director: It has been an exceptionally hard year for businesses across the world and I would like to pay tribute to the tenacity of all the team at TensCare. Our Queen’s Award for Enterprise is one that recognises growth over the last few years – and that growth has been fuelled by a number of factors. Most notably, the key drivers were our employees’ engagement and commitment, and these dynamics of engagement and commitment were boosted by our transitioning from being privately owned to being employee owned in March 2017.
How has being employee owned led to greater employee engagement and commitment, and how does this manifest itself at TensCare?
Charlotte Smith, Finance Director: To be frank, employee engagement and employee commitment can be very high in any size of business, and I know there are thousands of small businesses across the UK with motivated, engaged and committed employees that are not employee owned. However, I do believe employee ownership adds an additional incentive and social dynamic.
For employees to be engaged at work they need to know how to do their job, to understand how their work fits into meeting the company’s mission and purpose, and how their contribution aligns with their colleagues’ work. This is all functional – from an HR point of view, for employee TensCare Ltd engagement you need to recruit staff with the right skill sets to do the work required or provide the necessary training, then provide the right resources to do the work, explain the purpose of the business and where each employee’s contribution fits in with their colleagues’ work. This leads to engagement and can result in teams that perform well.
To create a high performing team, you also need employee commitment, and this is less about the functional aspect and more about creating the sense of connection between colleagues. Bonding can be encouraged by having team brunches, lunches, tea breaks or mutually collaborating on a charitable causes or hosting team builder events, both inside and outside of the workplace. It is the sense of social binding that boosts commitment. Engagement and commitment are key to high performance.
Ultimately, we all want to do something that feels socially meaningful and feel connected, and being employee owned feeds into this psyche of the business you are in, with the default management position of being transparent with each other, and members feeling rewarded in direct relationship to the success of their endeavours.
As an employee owned business we share the financial statements with all employees on a regular basis and have employee representation within the Director Trustees of TensCare Trust. The business is managed and run by the Board of Directors of TensCare Ltd, but like any other business the Board of Directors are answerable to their shareholders and customers.
Giving a voice of ownership to our engaged and committed TensCare team is what I believe has led us on our recent journey of growth in our product range, growth in our distribution coverage and growth in our profitability.
What does the Queen’s Award mean for the TensCare team?
Andrew Brown, Quality Assurance Manager and the longest serving employee of TensCare Ltd (23 years): As one of the team who has given most of my professional years to TensCare I have seen many achievements and celebrations, and yet the Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the one that makes me proudest. It feels like a reward for building up relationships with colleagues, suppliers and distributors over many years. It means a lot to me personally and I know it means a great deal to all of the talented TensCare team, as well as our suppliers and customers.