At the invitation of the company’s ESOP committee, I ran a workshop for new employees in a mature ESOP this week.  More than 15 years ago when the plan was established,  we provided ESOP and business education to all employees.  Nearly each year since that time we have run a similar workshop for the new hires.  The new employee group inevitably includes skeptics and many who are unclear about what is expected of ESOP owners.

I watched the light bulb go on this week for a woman who uncovered the no-so-hidden agenda of her co-workers. In a slightly suspicious tone she asked, “Is this somehow tied to their push on controlling healthcare costs? Is it about their stock value?” Indeed she was collecting the very knowledge she will need on the journey from thinking like a hired hand to thinking like an owner. Understanding that long-term stock value growth is the name of the game for everyone in this company, is an essential part of the journey.  I am confident that this woman now understands it is “our push to control costs and grow our stock value.”