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Haworth Tompkins was founded in 1991. In 2019, the Haworth Tompkins Employee Ownership Trust was set up for the benefit of the current and future employees of our studio. The trust is guided by the following principles.

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EMPLOYEE BENEFIT The Trust has been established for the benefit of the present and future employees of Haworth Tompkins.

REPUTATION We are first and foremost a creative design studio. Our reputation has grown on the back of thoughtful and well-crafted buildings, that delight clients and win awards in equal measure. The quality of our work drives the calibre of the clients that want to work with us, motivates existing members of the team to invest their time and energy and attracts talented, like-minded individuals to join us. As such, maintaining our reputation for quality design should be at the heart of any decisions that are made about the future direction of the company.

CREATIVE LEADERSHIP Our studio was founded by two highly individual designers with a shared vision. Over the past 30 years that vision has been enhanced by successive members of the team and has carried us to a point of strength, both reputationally and financially. Whilst ensuring that the employees have a voice and can contribute ideas to improve the way the company operates, maintaining effective and focused leadership of the company through successive generations of new directors will be critical to its future success.

OPEN COMMUNICATION Alongside strong creative leadership, the studio was founded on a non-hierarchical model, based on mutual respect, clear communication and good humour. These qualities, both for our team and for our relationships with our clients and collaborators, have played a significant part in our success. As the team has grown, this has become a more complex project to maintain and needs more active attention. We will continue to place these crucial qualities at the heart of the studio’s ethos, developing our management procedures and communication skills. This is a shared responsibility for all team members, at whatever stage of our careers.

FINANCIAL STABILITY The measures of our studio’s success are creative, social, environmental and financial. Our team has matured steadily since its formation in 1991, gradually increasing turnover and profits. A key priority for the future is to ensure that the company continues to be successful financially, as this underpins all our other objectives, but not at the expense of those other, equally key criteria.

INNOVATION We have built our success on a mindset of continuous innovation, whether in building typologies, working methods, building systems, materials, construction components or fine details. Creative risk taking should continue to drive the studio’s thinking under the leadership of a new generation of designers. We will encourage research and development projects where feasible.

SOCIAL VALUE From the outset, our work has been underpinned by a desire to make socially purposeful architecture that contributes to the collective wellbeing of our society and can be judged not only on standards of aesthetics but on ethics. We will continue to seek out commissions and clients on that basis, rejecting commissions that clearly go against those values.

SUSTAINABILITY We are facing a climate emergency of unprecedented seriousness. To meet the needs of our society without breaching planetary boundaries, we will promote and research the principles of Regenerative Design as the underpinning foundation of all our work. This requires that we recognise the construction of buildings, cities and infrastructure as an indivisible component of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system of planetary processes. For details of our actions, click here to be taken to our Regenerative Design page.

CREATIVE DIVERSITY Our success has been driven equally by our ability to develop specialist expertise and by our willingness to explore projects in new areas. Each part of our portfolio informs and strengthens the others and we should take the opportunity to expand our range of work types wherever possible, within the framework of our other guiding principles. Within the discipline of maintaining our core design mission, we will encourage and accommodate teaching, research, writing, public speaking, joining of design review panels and advocacy, recognising that these activities strengthen the creative core of the studio.

FAIRNESS AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY We want our studio to be a model for fairness in all our dealings with our employees, our clients, our collaborators and our supply chain. To achieve this, we must continue to become more informed, more innovative and more rigorous in our recruitment, employment, promotion, pay and dignity at work policies.

EMPLOYEES VOICES The Trust was established to allow every employee’s voice to be heard and taken into account. The Employees Forum and the employees’ representative on the Trust, should provide an opportunity for team members to make suggestions about how the company can make improvements to the way it is run. These will be given due consideration by the company and adopted where possible.

WORK LIFE BALANCE We want our team to achieve a healthy work life balance throughout their working careers, but the pressures on this increase as digital access expands, when families grow and the population ages. Maintaining profitability and productivity, we will seek to be at the forefront of best practice for employee welfare, exploring flexible hours, sabbaticals, study leave and home working, discouraging habitual long hours, 24/7 email availability and weekend work, developing more progressive parental leave policies and accommodating the demands of childcare and caring for dependant relatives.

SHARING THE REWARDS OF SUCCESS The Trust is designed so that everyone has a stake in maintaining the productivity and profitability of the studio, and a share in its financial success. Salary levels will be set so that every member of the employee team will continue to share proportionally in whatever financial success we achieve. A tax-free bonus pot equivalent to at least 15% of pre-tax profits will be ring-fenced and paid out to all qualifying staff pro-rata to salary.

As a practice and as individuals a sense of social purpose is a key driver for the work that we do. We have over 30 years’ experience of collaborating with socially driven organisations and clients who share the belief in our responsibility to create spaces for people and communities and not for the profit of the few.

Social value is highly dependent on context and inherently local. Our projects are transformative, acting as a catalyst for positive change. Through our social value initiatives, we seek to improve the quality of life for local communities through close engagement, and thereby contributing to environmental, economic and social wellbeing in a purposeful way.

Our current initiatives are outlined here, but we are constantly learning and seeking to improve our contributions.

INTERNAL PRACTICES We strongly believe that our profession should better reflect our society, and support the need to break down the ever-increasing barriers to entering the field of architecture.

We have progressive recruitment policies in place but recognise that tackling architecture’s diversity problem starts with students. We therefore partner with universities including London School of Architecture, Kingston University, and the University of Sheffield collaborative practice programme, employing students and offering work placements to support alternative routes for training, thereby broadening access to the profession.

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As part of this we offer weeklong placements to providing an insight into the profession, experience of the design and construction process, and the opportunity to work in an internationally awarded, design led studio environment.

We contribute to charities that work on improving the diversity within the construction industry including Blueprint For All, the Starr Trust, Social Mobility Foundation, Architecture LGBT+ and Arts Emergency Service.

OUTREACH AND EDUCATION We have developed a programme of outreach and educational opportunities that has been honed and delivered successfully.

We visit schools on career days to talk about architecture as a profession and host studio tours to introduce and demystify the field to more young people, particularly from under-represented backgrounds.

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And by reaching out to local state schools, we provide more students the opportunity to work within our award-winning practice.

We deliver a robust and well-structured series of workshops designed to share the skills embedded within our organisation and ultimately improve employment opportunities. e host regular skills workshop for the Blueprint For All Building Futures programme focusing on cover letters, CVs and portfolios

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Several members of our practice volunteer as mentors as part of the Social Mobility Foundation’s architecture mentoring programme. The SMF works with students from less advantaged backgrounds to assist and support them in gaining access to the profession. Under this scheme, students are partnered with a mentor architect who gives help, advice, and assistance.

PROJECTS Our project-specific social value research often begins before the project does. For each project, we work closely with clients and communities to embed social value in an efficient and impactful way. We look to find unique opportunities to make best use of our own in-house skills, as well as the expertise of local residents, businesses and organisations.

We see our projects as opportunities for local suppliers to contribute to. We ringfence a portion of our fees to reinvest into the local area by establishing a framework of local talent.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT Our social value working group, coordinates, researches and shares best practice throughout the studio.

Members of staff take part in various sponsored events, such as the Starr Trust annual cycle ride, with Haworth Tompkins' matching sponsorship raised by the cycling team.

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We are signatories of the RIBA Inclusion Charter, which encourages RIBA members to step up and demonstrate their commitment to making architecture more inclusive, as well as the NLA Diverse Leaders Pledge, which endeavours make the built environment sector more representative through recruitment, progression and advocacy.

We undertake research with this agenda though LSE cities programme and in-house, sit on advisory groups for ethical and sustainable development, and support New London Architecture, Heart of the City, and the Architecture Foundation.