, Associate Consultant

Does everyday work really impact company stock value? Absolutely! But sometimes it is hard to see.  That’s why MKSK, a planning, urban design and landscape architecture firm, sought a way to help its employee owners learn how everyday actions contribute to value during their annual meeting in 2021. 

MKSK became 100% employee-owned in September 2019. “We know our ESOP is a great thing for many reasons, but we are asking our ESOP communications committee to focus on: what is an ESOP, how do employees gain value, and how can employees contribute to it,” explained Chief Financial Officer Christopher Hostettler. Workplace Development’s Power of One Dollar learning activity was the perfect fit to illustrate to new employee owners how everyday actions add up. 

Explain stock value from the inside out 

In Power of One Dollar, employees learn about stock value from the inside out through a fast-paced competitive activity with simple work-relevant scenarios. For example, employees were asked to imagine if everyone at the company consistently saved $10.00 a week. What would be the possible impact on future value? “We went through several of those illustrations and people understood more and more that those little things that they think don’t have significance actually add to real stock valuation over time,” Hostettler said.  

Create lightbulb moments 

The benefit of Power of One Dollar is employee owners can begin to relate their annual statements to  individual performance and rewards of ownership. “It doesn’t take much to impact long-term values, we just have to learn how to do it consistently,” says Hostettler. He felt that Power of One Dollar “really addressed the financial issues that we are responsible for in our own firm and our industry … and that helped people gain that lightbulb moment.”  

Help people make better informed decisions 

Since MKSK is a design firm, Hostettler particularly liked the scenario that asked what the possible impact on the business would be if they provided four park design concepts when the contract is only for three. Hostettler acknowledged that they may still provide an extra design for their clients in the future, but now employee owners understand the financial impact of doing so and can make a financially informed decision. Power of One Dollar “put some meat on the bones to show our employee owners what they are responsible for, what they can do to improve the results for our clients and for our company,” said Hostettler. 

Now that MKSK has two years of ESOP statements, they are seeing the beginning of a positive trend line of stock valuation and thinking about how individual performance contributes to continued positive direction for the valuation trend line in future years.  

To bring Power of One Dollar to your employee-owned company, contact Cathy Ivancic from Workplace Development at 330-896-7285 or  civancic@workplacedevelopment.com.