Hayball has chalked up what it says is a first in Australian architecture practice, with the start of an employee share scheme that it says will ensure 20 to 25 per cent employee ownership over the next 10 years.

Share ownership by staff is an established practice within engineering firms, notably Arup, MWH Global, GHD and SKM – which is in the process of being bought by US firm Jacobs – but is rare in architecture globally and has not yet been done in Australia, managing director Tom Jordan says.

The plan, which aims to build the practice and give staff a “a piece of the action”, will not make them directors, with legal responsibility or voting rights. Staff leaving the firm will have to sell their shares. Documents to create the ownership plan are currently on the lawyer’s desk and the plan should be in place before the end of the financial year, Jordan says.

“By sharing ownership, you’re retaining and attracting talent and that leads to growth in the business,” Jordan told BRW on Tuesday. “With better people, you generate work. If those key people are then connected to the financial performance of the business, they’re much more in a mindset of business development.”

Read the full article by Michael Bleby in BRW here