Companies with employee ownership cultures might be big or small, booming or staying modest. But for an employee ownership culture to succeed, a company must do two things:

  1. Encourage a high-involvement culture with open-book management, high levels of employee education, and high levels of employee input;

  2. Share the company's equity with employees via some form of broad-based equity ownership program, most commonly an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

High-involvement culture

A high-involvement employee culture encourages and incentivizes employees to participate in the decision-making and management of a company. Leaders rely on forward-thinking ideas from employees to propel the company forward and carry the company through slumps.

The company provides exceptional employee education throughout the organization to foster mutual respect among all employees. The management opens the books to give all employees an accurate understanding of "what's under the hood" — including, in some cases, all of their colleagues' salary figures.


An employee stock ownership plan shares a company's equity among its employees, almost always as a contribution to the employee rather than an employee purchase. ESOPs offer companies a tax advantage, while giving employees an added benefit and a very real sense of ownership in the company.

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