The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

Been There; Done That. Does It Have to Be?

The following article originally ran as the President’s Page column in the February 2015 issue of the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association.

Human nature is often an enemy of enthusiasm. By this statement I mean it is normal for a mature ESOP company to react with a ‘been there, done that,’ attitude when pondering how to keep the enthusiasm for employee ownership vibrant among the company employees.

In recent years, when I visit ESOP companies, I often find myself talking to company executives, ESOP committee members, or HR professionals of a company that has had an ESOP for 10, 15, 20, 25, or even more years.

Often, here is the story I hear:

“Well, when we finally put the ESOP in place, needless to say, we were somewhat focused on the details of being sure we met the law and regulations. We were somewhat surprised how creating the ESOP tapped our resources, both money and time wise.

We had our ESOP advisors, and felt that they could keep us posted on all we needed to know.

We told the employees we had an ESOP, but most just scratched their heads, wondering what kind of scheme had been cooked up, as no one was seeing any extra money in her or his pocket.

In sum, we were what one might say a “sleepy” ESOP, assuming that employees would be excited about being owners, and would want to do more and be better.

After some employees left vested, and others saw that the person did get real value, interest seemed to perk up, and we could sense the employees wanted to be more attuned to what this ESOP and their role in being a beneficial owner meant.

So in about year five or so, we began to have employees exposed to other men and women like them at Association Chapter meetings, the national Annual Conference, and the Foundation’s Employee Owner Retreat, for example.

Top level executives, and average pay employees saw the AACE entries, heard about winners of AACE, ESOP Company of the Year, Employee Owner of the Year, attended the Annual Awards Banquet. Some employees became the ‘champions’ for making sure others in the company knew we were special, and everyone would benefit the better if we maximized the human side of ESOPs as a company.

So we entered AACE. We put in applications for awards with our Chapter and thus nationally. We created an ESOP communications committee; we made sure average pay employees were at meetings, networking with others in ESOP companies, and going to break out sessions about ownership culture and the human side of ESOPs.

But after five years or more of going, going, entering, entering, it sort of became old hat all of this intangible ‘love’ of being ESOP.

We need a revival so to speak. We are a good company, don’t get me wrong; but we just wonder if all of this ‘going, participating, entering’ stuff is worth it as we have been down that road, and we do not regret it; but the enthusiasm is gone.”

Well, after hearing this story, I do not jump up and down preaching that persistence is the key to an ESOP company maximizing their ownership structure; persistence is in keeping the enthusiasm alive. But the truth is each company, for many different reasons — growth, or new employees, or new business initiatives — needs to be engaged with the ESOP community year in and year out.

Accepting that the ‘old’ stuff has no more intrinsic value can diminish the subjective impact that being employee-owned has on a better performing company, with a more dedicated, and a more experienced work force, that builds wealth for all.

So, exposing ESOP people to the various tactics used to build a good company, learning about new tactics not used before, is a major way to end ennui that can arise in a mature ESOP company.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Member Services, Publication, , , ,

March 2015 Wrap-Up

Miss something in March? We have it all here in this month’s link round up.

An ESOP question answered

ESOP transactions survey

2015 AACE Award winners announced

March 2015 ESOP Report newsletter was published

Issue Brief #23 was updated

The 2015 Annual Conference preliminary agenda was released

The Outside Board Registry was updated for March

Four ESOP Association members were named among the top 100 places to work

The Department of Labor seeks comments on Proposed Regulation on the Definition of Adequate Consideration

Proposed topics were announced for the Annual Conference

We talked about the Employee Ownership Foundation’s impact on the national debate

Annual Conference sponsorships are available

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information, Employee Ownership Foundation, Member Services, TEA Members,

March 2015 ESOP Report

The March 2015 ESOP Report newsletter is now available for members. To access this month’s issue, you’ll need to sign into The ESOP Association’s website. The Member Sign In button is located at the top of the page.

To get to the ESOP Report, click Meet & Learn. A link to the ESOP Report is located on the left side menu.

March2015ESOPReportCOVERsmall

Filed under: Member Services, Publication, ,

March 2015 Outside Board Registry Now Available

The ESOP Association’s Outside Board Registry — a list of potential board members knowledgeable about and familiar with ESOPs and employee ownership — has been updated for March 2015. It’s now available for members on the website.

Members of The ESOP Association can be listed free of charge in the registry. To be listed, participants must be employed at or retired from a current ESOP Association member company, or be a current member of the Association in any member category. There is no charge for the registry if requested by a member of the Association.

If you would like to be included in this registry, contact Sharon Spencer at Sharon AT esopassociation.org.

The registry can be found on The ESOP Association’s website under Network. To access the information, you will need to login. The member login is at the top of the page. The Outside Board Register is a member service provided by The ESOP Association.

Filed under: Member Services,

Updated Publication –> Your ESOP: It’s For All of Us

Feb 2015 Pubs HighlightUpdated Publication

Your ESOP: It’s For All of Us

This brochure is designed to help companies communicate the ESOP concept to employee owners. It includes non-technical descriptions of how ESOPs work and how employee stock ownership can benefit the company and employees alike. Emphasis is placed on explaining such issues as how stock values can accumulate, the importance of productivity, and the advantages that ESOPs provide. The brochure also includes answers to nine questions commonly asked by ESOP participants.

Also available in Spanish.

Members $1 / Non-members $6

To purchase Your ESOP: It’s For All of Us, visit The ESOP Association’s website, email pubs@esopassociation.org, or call 1-866-366-3832.

Filed under: Member Services, Publication,

January 2015 Monthly Wrap-up

As it turns out, January was a busy month…

We noted some upcoming events for February

We reported that the Department of Labor will not mandate ESOP appraisers be ERISA fiduciaries

The ESOP Association filed an amicus in Supreme Court case Tibble V. Edison Int’l

ESOP Association members were named Great Places to Work!

The January 2015 ESOP Report was published

We shared a guest post from AACE Awards Volunteer Coordinator, Paul Horn – 2015 AACE Awards

We highlighted a new report from the Center for American Progress that discusses inclusive prosperity

2015 conference sponsorship were announced

We mentioned a few ways to keep up with Association updates

2015 AACE Awards category information was shared

The Two Day Professional ESOP Forum was announced

The ESOP Administration Handbook was highlighted

ESOP Experts 2015 – If you’re interested, more info here

2015 AACE Awards — we told you what you need to know to enter this year

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Chapter News, Conference Information, DOL Proposed Fiduciary Regulation, Employee Ownership Message, Government Affairs, Member Services, Publication, Retirement Issues, TEA Members,

January 2015 ESOP Report

The January 2015 ESOP Report newsletter is now available for members. To access this month’s issue, you’ll need to sign into The ESOP Association’s website. The Member Sign In button is located at the top of the page. To get to the ESOP Report, click Meet & Learn. A link to the ESOP Report is located on the left side menu.

Jan2015ESOPReportCOVERsmall

Filed under: Member Services, Publication, , ,

How to Keep Up with Association Updates

With the start of the New Year, we wanted to share several options for staying on top of Association news.

Website: all information is posted to The ESOP Association’s website.  Check the ESOP Bulletin under Advocacy and the News section on the homepage for the most up-to-date information.

ESOP Association Blog: government affairs information will be posted to The ESOP Association’s Blog as it happens. There is a subscription feature on the homepage of the blog, sign up and you’ll be notified by email when new information is posted. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed.

Twitter: (the new place to talk to us!) interesting information and links will be shared with members and the public.

Facebook & LinkedIn: information and links to information are posted to the Association’s Facebook page and LinkedIn group and LinkedIn company page for members to stay involved.

YouTube Channel: when important information is announced, additional commentary is posted to the Association’s YouTube Channel.

Google+: videos are also posted to the Association’s Google+ profile

Email: emails to the membership will continue on important issues.

As always, as information breaks, you’ll be notified and the Association will continue to share information in several forms and places to reach members.

Filed under: Member Services

ESOP Administration Handbook

Looking to update your ESOP resources in the New Year? The ESOP Administration Handbook is a great place to start.

Designed as an overview and checklist of the entire administration process, this Handbook, produced by the Association’s ESOP Administration Committee, is invaluable to in-house administrators, administrative committee members, and officers and management personnel responsible for administration of their company’s ESOP. Chapters include: disclosure requirements, contributions and dividends, ESOPs sponsored by S corporations, 401(k) arrangements and ESOPs, compliance testing, diversification requirements and other critical issues.

AdminHdbk COVER Artwork 2014

Filed under: Member Services, Publication, ,

ESOP Experts 2015 – Deadline Friday, January 9th!

Are you an ESOP expert? Market your ESOP specialty. Sign up now! The deadline for 2015 ESOP Experts is Friday, January 9, 2015.

To be listed among the 2015 ESOP Experts, use this form: ESOP Experts 2015.
Have questions? Contact Yvonette Brown at (202) 293-2971 or by email at yvonette AT esopassociation.org.
ESOP Experts Brochure 2015 COVER

Filed under: Member Services,

Welcome to the employee ownership blog of The ESOP Association.
The place where you'll find the latest information on ESOPs and employee ownership news.
Serving the entire ESOP community.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 123 other followers

Twitter

Facebook

Flickr

2015 AACE Award Entries

More Photos
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 123 other followers