In the News: Educating Workers about Employee Ownership
Van Meter Industrial, Inc. (Cedar Rapids, IA)
We discussed managing an Employee Culture earlier this week. How to Get Workers to Think and Act Like Owners, one in a series of ESOP articles in the Wall Street Journal, discusses how the 100% ESOP-owned Van Meter Industrial, Inc., based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, prospered after they worked on developing an employee culture. After realizing that their employees didn't know or truly appreciate the value of being an employee owner, they decided to make an effort towards building an ownership culture:
"Instead of continuing to simply pass out stock statements once a year, company executives set out to promote the program and educate workers about ownership. An employee committee has rolled out a series of campaigns, with catchy slogans and giveaways, to raise awareness of stock ownership and to get workers thinking about what each of them as owners can do to raise the price of company stock -- and how it affects their own net worth."
Van Meter also created an employee committee to educate people on what each of them could do to raise the stock price -- and how that affected their own net worth. Their stock was up 78% in 2006 and employee turnover dropped from 18% to 8%, which management believes is directly correlated to employees' engagement and commitment. Some of the initiatives implemented include:
- Creating an employee committee
- Removing management from the education process
- Providing new ESOP participants with a special I am in jacket and education on the plan
- Using creative ways to describe the benefits of the ESOP such as "Work 10 (years), get five free. They also compared the size of the companys contribution to the ESOP as about 9 ½ weeks of pay.