Nurturing your company’s ownership culture shows you value employees’ contributions in every department and role. And if you understand company culture’s impact on enterprise value — and its positive effect on share prices and participants’ account values — you’ll want to take the time to plan and prioritize this key component of your employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
If your company is one of the approximately 6,500 ESOPs nationwide, about 2,500 of which are 100% employee-owned, don’t miss out on this chance to celebrate! And be sure to use the momentum of Employee Ownership Month to enrich your ESOP company culture and engagement plan for the coming year.
An employee ownership calendar (OCC) is a planning tool that can help your team implement scheduled checkpoints throughout the year to focus on key ESOP culture goals and actions that support them, including:
- Measuring and improving employee retention
- Monitoring and reporting on team satisfaction
- Hosting events that foster ownership culture
- Recognizing shared successes and celebrating accomplishments
What Can Employee Retention Tell You?
Average employee tenure can reveal a lot about your culture. According to a 2023 report by the National Center for Employee Ownership, the average employee at a 100% ESOP-owned S corporation stays 7.1 years. That stat can serve as a benchmark to tell you how well employees’ needs are being met.
When creating your OCC, schedule at least two checkpoints per year to review the updated average tenure at your company. Shorter tenure than the national average likely indicates an uninspired workforce and culture issues that need to be addressed. And if your retention rate is better than the national average, we recommend developing a plan to identify what’s working and why. Then explore how you can replicate great results consistently across the business.
After each scheduled checkpoint, your leadership team should be prepared to determine next steps and use the OCC to help stay on track with the plan and timeline.
What You Can Learn By Monitoring Team Satisfaction
Most companies’ workforces can be categorized in three segments: early adopters, followers and late adopters. Nearly every company, employee-owned and operated or not, will have employees in each of these three segments. It’s critically important for leaders to know where their employees fall within the spectrum, to model optimal behaviors, and to take action for improvements where it’s needed.
Using your OCC to schedule a checkpoint around this metric can help you to measure whether you’re gaining followers, or if you could be doing more to bridge the gap for employee owners who aren’t quite embracing ownership culture. Take the allotted time to recognize your early adopters for their proactive behavior, and decide on a plan to influence those late adopters within the organization to become followers by mentoring them up or coaching them out.
Celebrating Ownership Culture by Hosting Events
Every ESOP’s OCC should include a wide array of event types to appeal to employees’ interests — but educational events are a must. We’ve seen ESOPs strengthen their employee-owners understanding and pride of ownership with events that can be in-person or virtual, such as:
- ESOP management workshops (virtual or in-person)
- ESOP committee workshops (virtual or in-person)
- Lunch-and-learns (virtual or in-person)
You don’t have to limit your options to in-house meetings and workshops, either. Consider attending ESOP Association events and networking opportunities, too. You might even join your local chapter. Some ESOP employers develop educational materials communicating employee ownership benefits based on varying needs across the employee-owner lifecycle. Others develop unique “ESOP Owners’ Manuals” for plan participants.
Be sure to include employee celebration events in your calendar, too. Team outings, company picnics, and holiday celebrations are great examples — but don’t forget to make October extra special in recognition of Employee Ownership Month. Connect events to your company’s mission and core values, and be intentional about creating opportunities for your leadership team to inspire employees with the right language, actions, and guidance.
Once you’ve articulated and clarified your company culture and determined which employees are thriving within it and why, you can continue building on that foundation of knowledge. And it can all begin with October Employee Ownership Month celebrations.
Get Started Today!
Remember, your people and culture are among your greatest competitive advantages.
Build your unique annual OCC to measure, monitor, and improve on your objective benchmarks with clear and consistent communication. Why twice a year? When it comes to a metric as important as employee retention, once a year simply isn’t enough to move the needle.
As you reflect on 2023’s Employee Ownership Month, be sure to use what you’ve learned to curate an organized, intentional 2024 OCC for you and your organization. Include educational events that simplify the ESOP benefit for participants and inspire them to make the most of their role as employee-owners — all year long.
It’s easy to get started now. Just click below to download your free copy of our guide to building an ownership culture that maximizes the business benefits of an ESOP.