Recruitment and retention of high-quality staff are central to the Majestic Trees business model. To build an experienced and highly skilled team, owners Steve and Janet McCurdy have adopted an egalitarian management style, investing in employee welfare, professional development and initiatives to promote employees as stakeholders, fostering a culture of camaraderie and professional pride. The company is proud of its retention rate — 48 per cent of current staff have been with the firm for at least six years. It pays comfortably above the national average for the horticulture industry. To provide further incentive and foster a co-operative, stakeholder culture, Majestic Trees has a unique scheme to evenly distribute 25 per cent of profits between all employees. Furthermore, the sales team participates in a shared commission system, weighted by seniority and shared monthly on a pro rata basis. In another industry first, in 2016, as part of a larger site development, the company built three oak-frame staff-accommodation units for rental at 60 per cent of current market rate. Majestic Trees’ quietest month, January, is used for staff training. This year’s programme ran over nine days and included a three-day intensive development and strategy planning programme for the management team. Employees are also encouraged and supported in pursuing additional training individually as opportunities arise through the year. During 2017-18, three members of staff have pursued RHS level 2 qualifications with tuition fees funded by the company. Another earned master of horticulture (RHS) qualification in 2017, again with tuition fees funded by the company. Quarterly meetings involving all staff provide valuable opportunities to discuss upcoming developments or pressures on the business, iron out any procedural issues, share accomplishments and seek staff input. Department heads also meet separately on a quarterly basis to push forward initiatives that require interdepartmental collaboration. Six of the eight members of the senior management team are women. Majestic Trees is seriously committed to employee welfare and strives to achieve the highest standards of professionalism in this area. This commitment is evidenced by its enrolment in Investors in People. This independent professional association regularly guides and evaluates the firm on best practice and Majestic Trees holds a silver award.