“We’ve changed it up quite a bit over the years,” Renny Ross, Human Resources Manager at D-C Elevator Company, Inc.,says of the company annual meeting format. “When we started doing annual meetings, ten years ago, we really needed to cover the ESOP nuts-and-bolts. We wanted people to understand how paying down debt mattered for our success.” These days, the company’s ESOP communication needs are different, but Ross says the in-person annual meetings are still an extremely important part of connecting with ESOP participants.

Participants work out of six different branches in Kentucky and one in West Virginia,  installing, modernizing and maintaining elevators on customer job sites. “Because of the way our business works we can’t get people together all the time,” Ross explains.  He notes that annual meetings are special; they have a kind of “luster” to them because they only happen one time a year.  Participants drive to attend a one of the two meetings held in Lexington and Louisville each year.

At the annual meetings this year there were brand new questions to address because of the company’s recent acquisition.  Steve Bowlds, President of D-C Elevator provided a financial overview and information about company strategies.  Then, Workplace Development provided an educational segment that included a custom Jeopardy! challenge. The fun activity tackled many of the questions participants had about acquisitions including how strategic decisions are made in an ESOP-owned business.

For the meetings to be a success year in and year out, the company must make it interesting for people at different stages in their careers. “There are years when we included segments on the 401(k) and other benefits in the meeting,” says Ross.  “We always need to be aware that meeting will include both people who have worked for us for more than 35 years and some who are young and not thinking about retirement at all.”

For the last 10 years, Workplace Development has provided educational segments and activities as well as inspiration for D-C Elevator’s annual meetings.  Topics over the years have included:

  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • ESOP Jeopardy
  • The Power of a Dollar
  • Is the ESOP Real?
  • ESOP: What’s In It For Me?
  • Who Runs an ESOP Company?
  • Great Game of Ownership
  • Investing For Your Future (WDI worked in tandem with the 401(k) provider)

“People take notice and it’s a little more substantial because we have Workplace Development involved in the presentation,” says Ross.  “I appreciate having an outside voice validate messages our trustee and management have been communicating.”  At D-C Elevator the annual meetings are more than just another meeting. They are an annual experience connects employees to the company’s mission and a reminder that each person has a stake in company success.

Workplace Development’s custom interactive learning games, visual examples, and activities make essential business and ESOP concepts come alive for participants. If you would like to enhance the impact of your annual ESOP meeting (or get started having annual meetings) contact Jim Bado at 419-427-2435 or  jbado@workplacedevelopment.com.