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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

August 15, 2017

(Loren Rodgers)

Fidelity Study Shows Half of ESPP Participants Sell

A new Fidelity analysis shows that about half of all participants in employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs) sell their stock on exercise. The findings are based on a Fidelity analysis of more than 365,000 workers over a three-year period. Employees under 40 years old and those getting larger discounts on the shares are more likely to sell, although the differences are not large. Workers used the proceeds responsibly, often to pay debt, make home improvements, save for retirement, or for an emergency fund.

One Way to Fix Uber: Let Drivers Be Owners

The magazine Ozy published an article by the NCEO's founder Corey Rosen. Rosen tells the leaders of Uber, "You could drive your business to the next level and set aside negative publicity in one fell swoop: by making your drivers owners."

Becoming Employee-Owned via Acquisition

Dave McLean, the founder of San Francisco's Magnolia Brewing, is someone that you might have thought of as a good candidate to sell his business to an ESOP. Instead, the company ran into difficulties and ended up in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015, but the story does not end there. According to an article in SFGate, employee-owned New Belgium Brewing is buying the assets of Magnolia. Kim Jordan, founder of New Belgium, said the two Magnolia pubs will remain open.

New Employee Ownership Videos

The NCEO has released two new videos about employee ownership on its sister website www.esopinfo.org. One video, Culture and Communication at Employee-Owned Companies, shows many perspectives from managers and others at employee-owned companies about how to get to the point where "we're all in this together." The 3-minute video is a great resource for companies, communications committees, and anyone who wants to know more about what work life is like inside an employee-owned company.

Speakers in the second video, The Economic Benefits of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, talk about the dollars-and-cents difference employee ownership makes to workers at all levels of their companies, and the difference that increased economic security makes for both those employees and for the company.

The videos page at www.esopinfo.org/videos/ features these and other videos, such as one from employee-owned Polyguard that played at the NCEO's 2017 annual conference.

Economic Development and Employee Ownership

Many states and municipalities invest heavily to attract new businesses. Responding in an August 6 article to Wisconsin's decision to provide $3 billion in tax incentives to Foxconn, Marjorie Kelly argues that "Our economic development dollars would be better spent preserving and expanding existing small and medium-size businesses through employee ownership."

Employee Well-Being and Company Performance

A new study by Georgetown University professor Christina Porath, Creating a More Human Workplace Where Employees and Business Thrive (PDF), summarizes a large body of research that finds that the best-performing companies put employee well-being first. Many of the concepts in the study will be familiar to employee ownership companies, but the report provides ideas and examples worth looking at. Porath highlights several key concepts:

Max De Pree: 1925 to 2017

Max De Pree was the CEO of employee-owned Herman Miller, the maker of iconic business furniture, for seven years and the author of several books, including Leadership Jazz.

Author biography and other columns in this series

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