February 1, 2021

Going from Good to Great Ownership Cultures

Director of Culture and Engagement

Having a great corporate culture doesn’t necessarily mean you have a great ownership culture. In fact, a company that recently took the NCEO’s Ownership Culture Survey received feedback from employees that scored above average on just about every aspect of its culture compared to other ESOP companies in our employee survey database. Despite such positive feedback in all these areas, the company’s results were below average on survey items focused on ESOP understanding and ownership identity. For many employees, the ESOP benefit seemed distant and didn’t feel meaningful when it came to their day-to-day work.

This is not an uncommon reality for many companies and their employee-owners. Thankfully for this company, it has already begun the process of working to improve these aspects of its culture by putting together its first communications and engagement committee. There is no “one size fits all” solution to improving employees’ attitudes toward your ESOP and employee ownership at any business, but there is much to be learned from other companies that have done this successfully. Creating a structured strategy for communicating with new and old employees is key, and communication may even start right at the point of hire to ensure employees understand the role their ESOP plays both for the company and in their own financial success.

Later this month, I will host the second series of the NCEO’s Communications Committee Crash Course, our first-ever virtual training program to help companies and their committee members improve or jump-start their communications and employee engagement strategy. I look forward to networking with participants and hosting special guests from professionals and fellow employee-owners in the ESOP community. So whether your committee needs some refreshing or you and your colleagues are just getting started, I hope to see you there on day one, February 17, for an overview of communication, ESOP learning, and ownership culture!

At this year's annual conference we will be further emphasizing the importance of communication and education by having a full track dedicated to the topic. For a taste of what you can expect in this track, check out this 2020 session from ESOP company CEOs about how they communicate and lead in difficult times.