Businesses can deepen their impact in their communities by incorporating employee ownership. This can be done at any time in the lifecycle of the business: at start-up, once the business is established, or when the founder or owner wants to sell the business.
When we talk to business owners about what they want for their business, in addition to financial success, most owners care deeply about their mission (whether one of quality products or services, good customer service, or an explicit social or environmental mission), and want their customers and employees to be well taken care of.
Who wouldn’t want a strong locally-owned business, engaged employees, and a stronger community? Employee-owned businesses enable all of this and typically also bring:
- Enhanced growth, productivity and business longevity
- Higher employee engagement; lower employee turnover
- Improved pay and benefits for employees, and ability to grow the asset of business ownership
Succession planning in particular is a real need for companies, especially privately- or family-owned businesses. Only 15% of family businesses succeed to the 2nd generation, and only 5% to the 3rd generation. Those that don’t close are often sold to out-of-state buyers or private equity firms that may relocate jobs or the entire business. Given the “silver tsunami” of retiring baby boomers, and that they own an estimated 66% of privately held U.S. businesses with employees, this is huge issue, and a huge opportunity.
Owners don’t need to leave their companies to sell to their employees—many have used employee ownership as a way to deepen their employee engagement, to deepen their commitment to their employees, or to share the responsibilities of ownership as their business grows.
Project Equity helps businesses assess whether transitioning to employee ownership is a good fit, and when it is, to move through the conversion phases. We work with owners and employees to:
- Understand how employee ownership works
- Understand what it would take for my business to be ready for employee ownership
- Learn from other businesses that have become worker-owned
- Take practical steps forward and involve the right professionals to meet your needs