Learn about employee ownership….
In the United States, employee ownership usually refers to ownership of a business through an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP.
Legally, an ESOP is just a trust that holds shares on behalf of each employee. Close to 7,000 American companies have established ESOPs, and the ESOP owns a majority of shares in most of them. An estimated 2,000 companies are 100% owned by their employees through an ESOP. The list includes many large and midsize companies, such as Publix Super Markets and W.L. Gore & Associates, as well as many smaller businesses.
When a company converts to employee ownership, good things can happen. The company’s performance nearly always improves. Employees typically earn (and save) more money. People learn to pull together. For a sampling of the research that supports these statements, click here and here.
Want to know more? The National Center for Employee Ownership, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization based in Oakland, California, offers a handy 24-page booklet (see cover at left) that introduces the idea, shows its extent, and tells lots of stories about employee-owned companies. It’s the best first stop for company owners, employees, service providers, public officials, and everyone else who’s interested. You can download a pdf for free or order hard copies for $2 each here (minimum order 5 copies, discounts available for large orders). Also, check the links below to see whether there’s a center in your state.
The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO)
The ESOP Association
Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA)
Fifty by Fifty
Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing, Rutgers University
Beyster Institute, University of California, San Diego
California Center for Employee Ownership
Indiana Center for Employee Ownership
New Jersey – New York Center for Employee Ownership
Ohio Employee Ownership Center
Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership (PACEO)
Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center (RMEOC)
Vermont Employee Ownership Center