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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

July 1, 2019

(Loren Rodgers)

New Research as the UK Celebrates Employee Ownership Day

June 28 was Employee Ownership Day in the United Kingdom, and employee-owners from hundreds of companies around the country celebrated. The White Rose Center for Employee Ownership issued results of its ongoing survey, which found that 370 companies in the UK are employee-owned, noting that the growth in the number of firms has been in double digits both in 2017 and 2018. The top three industries (Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities, Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities, and Retail), together accounted for 57% of the UK's employee-owned companies.

NCEO Employee Ownership Stock Index Continues to Double Market Returns

On June 19, 2017, the NCEO created the Employee Ownership Index, an index of 28 publicly traded companies that both have broad-based employee ownership and have won one of four major national employer rating awards, each of which puts a high emphasis on employee engagement (Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For and its 100 Best Medium Workplaces, the Gallup Engagement Index, and the Enterprise Engagement Alliance awards). The index was reset in 2018 and again in June of 2019 to reflect current winners. It now has 29 companies.

Broad-based employee ownership included ESOPs with an average account balance of $30,000 or more and companies that provided equity grants to most or all full-time employees. For the first year, the Employee Ownership Index had a 30.3% return; the S&P 500 had a 15.5% return. For the second year, the return was 12.8% compared to 7.8%. The table below breaks this down into 12-month increments since inception.

EO Index Returns by Time Period 2017-2019
PeriodEO IndexS&P 500 IndexRussell 3000
Two years48.1%24.1%24.2%
2018-201914.6%8.6%7.8%
2017-201830.3%15.5%16.7%
Research has overwhelmingly shown that companies that have broad-based ownership and high employee involvement in work-level decisions outperform other companies. This is the first time, however, that an index has been created that people can invest in. Anyone can invest in the Employee Ownership Index by opening a trading account on the Motif website, motif.com. Motif is an online trading platform that allows users to create their own custom stock portfolios ("motifs") that can be traded as a unit as if they were ETFs or mutual funds.

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