Is your ESOP-owned company making the most of Employee Ownership Month? 

October brings an annual opportunity for ESOP-owned companies to communicate the benefits of an ESOP to employees, to emphasize the benefit in recruiting efforts, and to demonstrate how ESOPs are good for companies and communities alike.

If your ESOP doesn’t have a plan for celebrating the occasion, there’s still time. Consider the ideas here, or get your ESOP culture and communications committee together to brainstorm your own unique observance of employee ownership.

Here are a few ways ESOP companies use the month to build awareness and appreciation:

Make October ESOP Month in Your Workplace

Without the great employees who support productive, profitable ESOP companies, there wouldn’t be a reason to celebrate employee ownership. That’s why many ESOP companies prefer to focus on worker appreciation events in October. Consider these ideas in your committee’s brainstorming session:

  • Company picnic — invite employees and families for a special event
  • Catered employee breakfast or lunch — treat workers to a special reason to get together and socialize over lunch, and a day of freedom from brown bagging it
  • Game day — create your own ESOP-themed trivia game, with questions featuring your most recent valuation, the year your ESOP was established, and more
  • Poster contest — invite employees’ children to enter their designs celebrating ESOPs, and employees can vote for the winners
  • Rummage sale or silent auction — make the event a fundraiser for a local nonprofit or for an ESOP advocacy group
  • Team chili cookoff — invite departments to a friendly competition for the top prize
  • Employee awards events — create a fun occasion for department or unit leaders to recognize team members for their outstanding contributions
  • ESOP education sessions — create a presentation for leadership to explain how the ESOP works, and help employees get a clearer understanding about how their contributions can have a positive impact on annual valuation and share price
  • Create an employee appreciation display — decorate a common area or break room with items that include educational content about employee ownership, and specifics about your ESOP
  • Give gifts — a company T-shirt or other swag is a great way to promote team spirit
  • Launch a newsletter — take it beyond October with employee communications that focus on an aspect of your ESOP each month

Your celebration of employee ownership doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. Something as simple as a thank-you cake can go a long way toward making employees feel appreciated. Creative ideas that reflect the uniqueness of your own employee-powered culture are sure to leave a lasting impression.

And, if you don’t have a culture and communications committee, now is a great time to get one up and running!

Rev Up Recruitment with an ESOP Focus in October

Employee Ownership Month is a great time to take a closer look at your job postings. Do your recruiting communications effectively highlight the value of the ESOP retirement benefit? Have hiring managers and human resources employees received training on how to educate job candidates about ESOP benefits?

It’s a competitive market for excellent employees, so it’s crucial to identify and use your advantages. When employees embrace an ownership culture, their words and actions can send a message of empowerment and team values that helps attract quality candidates — so make sure your candidate-facing employees know how to talk about the benefits of your ESOP.

Reach Out to Business Owners About the ESOP Exit Strategy

Maybe you’re a former business owner who chose to become an employee-owner, making an ESOP your exit strategy of choice. If so, how many business owners do you know who might be considering their options for retirement or a business exit? Do they know how an ESOP works?

While it may not have a direct impact on your business, consider the goodwill of expanding awareness of the ESOP as an exit strategy among business owners in your circle. You don’t have to be an ESOP expert to talk about the ways employee ownership has changed your life, your employees’ retirement outlook, or the bottom line of your now ESOP-owned business. Here are a few ways you can help other business leaders learn more:

  • Post on LinkedIn or in other online business forums you participate in
  • Write a letter to an editor of a regional business publication
  • Create a press release
  • Host a coffee hour, happy hour, or lunch hour Q&A
  • Reach out to local radio stations to schedule an on-air conversation
  • Offer to host a presentation for your local Chamber of Commerce or other membership organization
  • Post on your company blog
  • Create social media posts highlighting your unique company culture

Give Your ESOP a Little TLC, Too

It’s a great idea to take some time this month to plan ahead for the coming ESOP year. Make sure your 2023 calendar is updated with critical deadlines and filing dates. Reach out to your ESOP experts to schedule consultations and discuss whether it’s time for a sustainability study, or get advice about launching your own employee newsletter or other communications.

Learn more about the many ways you can incorporate employee ownership into your workplace culture, and reap the rewards. Download our free guide — click below to get your copy today.

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