Monday, December 15, 2008

Employee Owned Business the New Future for US Business?



Employee Owned Companies



In my career, I have had the opportunity to work for two employee-owned companies. Both were excellent employers.


Being employed by a company in which you own a stake makes a huge difference in the company culture. My mantra for 2009 is that company culture is ultimately the one single factor that drives a business to excellence, superseding talent, compensation, visions, missions, innovation and any other factor you may throw out. Without a strong vibrant encouraging culture, none of these other factors can flourish.





Employee ownership may be one of the single strongest differentiators in business, and is sorely under-utilized. I am not talking about employee stock purchase plans. I am talking about actually owning shares that you receive as part of your annual compensation.





This would do far more to help rebuild economies than a piece of adversarial legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act ever could. Business and employees don't need 3rd party intervenors and relationships based on adversarial negotiation. They need to be mutually engaged in seeking the best outcome for business success, in a way that serves the interest of all stakeholders.





Employee Stock Ownership Plans are one way of achieving this. I saw a really great story about such an example of this in a story from the Naples New this weekend.





In their own hands: Employees run the business at Florida Company






In a rare move to save his company, a dying man initiated a complex process
to put his 30-year venture into his employees’ hands.

Larry Bill had battled cancer for years and needed to address Pelican
Wire Co.’s future without himself at the helm.

There were potential buyers, including a Chinese company, said Ted
Bill, his son and company president.

Instead, the Bill family embarked on a nearly nine-month process of
transferring ownership to Pelican’s 48 employees in an employee stock ownership
plan, or ESOP, which Ted Bill referred to as expensive, although no figures were
disclosed.

The transaction was completed this fall, about six months after Larry
Bill died.

“He always had a passion for the employees,” Ted Bill said. “He wanted
them to come to work feeling like they had an ownership stake.


See the rest of the story here

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