A forward-thinking Kent veterinary group has celebrated becoming the largest practice in the world to become employee owned, which will protect both its independence and 125-year-old core values.
Pennard Vets, which was founded in 1895, embarked on becoming an employee ownership trust (EOT) earlier this year, meaning all 99 members of its team who work across six sites in Kent are now practice owners and shareholders in the business. The group celebrated the completion of the EOT earlier this month at a summer family BBQ and party held at Hadlow Manor Hotel in Tonbridge.
Pennard Vets’ three previous sole directors, comprising of Matthew Flann, Caroline Collins and Andy Green, all worked as vets at the practice for several years before becoming part of the leadership team in 2007. The trio will all continue to work in the business following the EOT transfer.
Andy Green, from Pennard Vets, said: “Pennard Vets is a special practice that has been a part of the fabric of the local community for 125 years and we want to be here in another 125 years. At a time when many other practices are being taken over by large corporate organisations, we knew that the EOT was the right way to guarantee an independent future for our 99 team members. Although we received plenty of interest and offers from corporates, it was important to remain true to ourselves and our values.
“It is increasingly difficult for vets to buy into independent practices and the traditional partner progression model no longer works, so after exploring various possibilities, it became clear that the EOT option was ideal for us and protects everything that we stand for.
“Crucially, it also means Pennard Vets won’t be taken over and gives everyone in our team both autonomy and a voice, as well as safeguarding our fundamental core values that are built around compassion, client focus and continually improving everything we do. There’s no doubt this will further enhance the high standard of care that our clients enjoy and is also helping us to grow our team and attract new talent.
“As we expand our practice across Kent, we’re recruiting both vets and nurses. Every new team member becomes an employee owner and can influence the decisions we make for the future of our practice. Our people are helping to shape our employee benefits scheme and influence how we reinvest profits in a forward-thinking practice, that will remain independent. This is proving very attractive to new members of the team which makes it a really exciting and rewarding time for us.”
Newly appointed vet, Emma Ball, has become one of the first new recruits to benefit from the EOT model after joining the group’s Sevenoaks practice. Emma said: “I initially did work experience at Pennard Vets eight years ago and immediately felt like part of the family. Everyone took the time to make sure I learnt as much as possible, so when I was offered this role, it was an easy decision for me.
“Coming back to the practice has been a fantastic experience and to benefit from the EOT is the icing on the cake. Although lots of people dream of owning their own practice, it’s a very difficult thing to achieve. However, now we’re all stakeholders in the business, it has made our team spirit even stronger and means everyone makes even more effort to make Pennard Vets successful and ensure clients always enjoy the very best level of care.”