Is your ESOP Committee stuck in neutral? Are your company’s Committee members struggling to engage employees as owners or make the most of October’s ESOP Month? If that’s happening – and it does, even for the most successful teams – it’s time for you to “hit the reset button.”  Below are some practical ways we work with you to “unstick” your ESOP Committee.

1) Connect education to a specific project  

Most ESOP Committees begin with a bang and slowly lose momentum because members feel that they don’t have anything concrete to offer their co-workers. Developing Committee members’ ESOP knowledge and skills related to a specific project builds confidence and renews the team’s purpose.

Workplace Development’s “just in time” education and skill building can be combined with an all-employee meeting or another communication project. Committee members apply the new knowledge to develop and deliver the customized activity. Success enables your Committee to launch its next project with a renewed enthusiasm. Common project topics for this kind of approach include:

  • Connecting job-level actions to ESOP stock value
  • ESOP Roles and Responsibilities
  • Understanding Our ESOP
  • The ESOP Game Business Simulation
  • WDI’s customized Great Game of Ownership


2) Plan for positive action

Despite effective education, a Committee can still get stuck moving to action. The Committee at Eagle Alloy in Muskegon, Michigan, for example, checked all the start-up boxes. They attended conferences, established a structure, and started educating themselves. After that, they faced the challenge of transitioning from a better-informed group to one that helped the company make the most of employee ownership.

“Our committee members needed to see the possibilities for their role and get charged up about how they can help [their co-workers],” says Lisa Price, Human Resources Director at Eagle Alloy. “Workplace Development provided inspiration and structure to set us on the right path. Now committee members are taking on tasks, not just the manager on the team.” Specifically, we worked with Eagle Alloy’s Committee to develop a practical communications plan and coached Committee members to take positive action.

3) Enhance your communication toolbox with new strategies and techniques

Some Committees know their mission and are ready for action, but need new ways to accomplish their objectives. In this common situation, we e provide your Committee with practical communication tools including:

  • Online business and ESOP education
  • ESOP “certification” programs like Certified Employee Owner Programs (CEO)
  • Short, customized online learning
  • Printed and electronic ESOP and business communications
  • Polls, games and contests
  • Hands-on activities that reveal how employees’ actions impact ESOP value.

4) Re-examine, refresh and recharge your Committee’s purpose

Just like with your business, a healthy Committee’s goals, purpose and structure need to be adjusted over time. This is not a sign of failure, it is a signal that your Committee is changing with the company. Consider the ESOP Committee, for instance, that starts out celebrating the founders’ gift of employee ownership. In the beginning, the parties and celebrations are a tribute to the new and unique benefit. Over time, these Committees need to recharge their purpose and set new objectives to meet the evolving needs of the business.

If your Committee seems stuck, contact Cathy Ivancic at or 330-896-7285 to learn how we can help you hit the reset button for future success.