When you communicate about your ESOP — or just about anything else — adults immediately tune into a familiar radio station:  WII-FM (What’s In It For Me?).  Building practical knowledge about the TIONs and Ting of your ESOP is critical because we focus first on how something affects us.  If you fail to effectively communicate TION-Ting, employees won’t understand your ESOP and you’ll fail to gain the promised performance improvement and cultural benefits of shared ownership.

In other words, firms need to develop a real-world understanding of how the following TIONs affect “you”

The Ting, of course, is vesting.  Depending where your company is in it’s ESOP lifecycle, it’s also beneficial for employee owners to know how a few other TIONs affect them, like TransiTION, Repurchase ObligaTION and DiversificaTION. For more than twenty-five years, we’ve developed customized, interactive materials to communicate TION-Ting to employee owners and build enthusiasm for employee ownership’s benefits.  While working recently with a company to customize a TION-Ting presentation for its annual meeting/celebration of moving from minority to majority employee ownership, company personnel said that vesTING was also a TION:  retenTION.

While I’d never thought of the Ting as a TION, their point made a lot of sense.  Vesting becomes an effective retention tool when people understand how it works.  The same holds true for all the other TIONs:  when people understand what’s in it for them with your ESOP plan, they become effective tools for improving your firm’s performance and culture.