Steve Dolphin

Divisional Director for Organisational Change

Steve oversees numerous internal projects that improve our organisation and, importantly, ensures they align with our overall strategy.

Steve was Chair of our Employee Ownership Forum between 2017-2020. During that time the group re-focussed its efforts on transparency and accountability throughout the organisation. This experience sparked his interest in governance.

Tell us a bit more about your role?

Within the business I get involved in the co-ordination and running of projects that include internal changes. Some projects involve technology, some involve process and workflow, and some, like the Employee Ownership Forum, involve culture and people. What is important within any business is that changes are all moving in a similar, positive direction. Being involved in internal projects allows me to ensure that they are sharing common goals and objectives. It’s all too common for organisations to chase new technologies or new processes ‘for the sake of it’. At Stride Treglown we focus on the genuine business benefit that a change could bring about. My taking over of the Employee Forum Chair role coincided with the end of my MBA, allowing me to structure my dissertation around the employee-ownership challenge, aiming to improve the way we do it at Stride Treglown.

How has your career progressed?

My background is in computer science, and I have been working at Stride Treglown for over 16 years, having also completed my first industry placement during my Bachelor’s degree here. I originally started my role with a more technical focus on computer systems, and over time the role has become more strategic.

During my MBA, I joined the Employee Ownership Forum and was one of the first non-architectural staff to be promoted to associate level, and since then beyond. In March 2018, I was awarded Chartered status from the CMI as a testament to my ongoing interest in leadership and organisational development. In the last few years I’ve been an advocate for agile working and am proud of the positive steps Stride Treglown have taken to enhance all employees’ working conditions and benefits.

More recently, I have joined our B-Corp team as lead of the ‘Governance’ pillar.

What does being employee-owned mean to Stride Treglown?

Longevity and a more flexible ownership structure. We planned to be 25% employee-owned within about five years from starting, which we now are. It means that if a director leaves, we can sell shares to employees instead of onto another director, shifting the mindset towards the longevity of the practice. This ties in with our holistic view of individual development: wellbeing, work-life balance, and agility. We have a very engaged workforce. The Employee Forum has a seat at strategic board meetings, so representation of staff in the board room has been a huge achievement. This approach differentiates us from our industry. We are a unique, mid-sized architecture practice and employee-ownership is working well for us.

Is your involvement in B-Corp more of the same?

In a way. One of the reasons that B-Corp fitted so well for us was that we already had a number of the structures and processes that other, aspiring B-Corporations are looking to achieve.

When it comes to governance, I am still very motivated by how the employee voice can input into the business’s direction and accountability, and the B-Corp structure gives us another view as to how that might take shape in the future.