Not long after the Deputy Prime Minister's announcement of a desire to create a “John Lewis economy”, Sky has awarded over 10, 000 of its employees a celebratory share bonus. The bonus celebrates 20 years in the broadcasting industry and is worth about £700 to each employee who received it.

The 20 year anniversary actually took place in February 2009. At that point all of Sky's permanent employees were awarded 100 shares each. They were unable to cash them in until now. Sky say that they awarded the shares as a reward to their dedicated staff in recognition of how their hard work has contributed to their success. Jeremy Darroch, the Chief Executive at Sky, commented “Our employees are central to the growth of our business and we want them to feel valued. Initiatives like the 20-year share award are just one way in which we can thank our people for their contribution and let them share in Sky’s long-term success.”

Last year it was reported that John Lewis was to share nearly £200 million in share bonuses with its employees after an impressive trading year. The increase in trade was despite the difficult economic conditions. The company knew that a great deal of the success was due to the hard work of its employees. At the time, Managing Director, Andy Street commented that a crucial element to the scheme was that everyone received the same percentage. Additionally, it is the results of the organisation alone that create the pot. Each “partner” puts into the pot every time it does something to promote the success of the company and each partner takes an equal share of that success. Perhaps this is what John Lewis have got so right about their co-operative scheme. Others wishing to join in with their success should think carefully about how any rewards reaped will be shared out as this will ultimately impact how hard the “partners” work.

In support of the Deputy Prime Minister's announcement, David Cameron is looking to launch a bill in support of co-operatives. At present it is perceived that the regulatory framework surrounding co-operatives is too complicated. As a result the idea has yet to gain the support of businesses. If the Government do, however, manage to make the scheme easier to enter and possibly, tax beneficial, we could see a lot more businesses looking to go in that direction. Certainly with news of share bonuses it is something that employees might welcome.

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