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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

December 15, 2014

(Loren Rodgers)

Employee Ownership and the Best Places to Work

The annual list of the UK's best places to work, compiled by Glassdoor using worker feedback, put two companies with substantial employee ownership at the top of the list. Number one is Google, renown for its culture and for broadly offering equity compensation to its workforce. Number two is the iconic John Lewis Partnership, the best-known employee-owned company in the UK. The chain of department stores, fully owned and governed by its workforce, has sparked calls among all three major parties to create a "John Lewis economy." Third on the list is Microsoft, which, like Google, has both an employee stock purchase plan and offers restricted stock.

In the US, Pensions & Investments released its 2014 list of the best places to work in money management. The list includes several firms with substantial employee ownership, including Neuberger Berman, the Principal Financial Group, and Robert W. Baird.

New Web Resource for Smart Management

John Case, a prominent writer on open-book management and the author of Equity, has launched www.retoolingcapitalism.com. The former Inc. writer reports on employee ownership and on many other ways of creating better companies, from open-book management to B corporations to social enterprise. Case provides some fascinating history—how Louis Kelso came to invent the ESOP, for instance—and promises regular updates and articles on all these topics.

UK Award for Privatization Through Employee Ownership

SEQOL, a home care company in Swindon, UK, has been awarded the Philip Baxendale Award, which recognizes excellence in employee-owned companies. SEQOL is part of a privatization effort in the UK, under which 100 care providers with aggregate revenue of 1.5 b (2.4 billion USD) have converted from state ownership to employee ownership. The award is endorsed by the UK government, and Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said, "I visited SEQOL myself, as well as many other impressive mutuals, and know their success lies in encouraging an entrepreneurial and commercially-rigorous spirit whilst retaining the public sector ethos of sharing good practice for the greater good."

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