Tag Archives: Employee stock ownership plan

Jay Hardy Sells Company to Employees

Hardy Diagnostics now employee-owned

Jay Hardy, President of Hardy Diagnostics, recently crossed a big item off of his “to do” list—he sold the company to his employees that he and his lifelong friend,Rob Shibata, founded 34 years ago.  ”I have planned on doing this for a long time,” said Hardy.  “Owning Hardy Diagnostics has been tremendously rewarding for me.  Now everyone at Hardy Diagnostics can share in the joy and rewards of ownership, just as I have,” he said.

Employee ownership promotes participation and leadership on every level for the more than 230 employees of Hardy Diagnostics.  The company’s Open Book Management system encourages involvement and personal responsibility. As Rianna Malherbe, who has worked as a Technical Support Specialist for about a year puts it, “Having co-ownership means having a commitment to holding a bigger picture vision, even as I focus on everyday details of my personal role as part of our continuous improvement process.”

Ownership can be a major competitive advantage

Companies that are employee owned are known as ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). Over time, employees are granted real shares in the company at no cost to them.  There are about 11,000 companies in the U.S. that are ESOPs like Hardy Diagnostics. Due to employee involvement, ESOPs generally have a superior track record compared to other companies. An ESOP is 25% more likely to stay in business. ESOPs have 25% higher job growth over the last 10 years compared to the non-ESOP.  Employees at ESOPs have retirement accounts that are 2.5 times greater than their non-ESOP counterparts and they were four times less likely to be laid off during the recent recession.

As employee owners, they work within a culture of ownership that produces both rights and responsibilities: the right to be informed about the management, strategy, and financial health of the company. They are also encouraged to question practices that may not be in the company’s best interest. The net result is to work in a positive environment and share in the company’s financial success.

As an employee-owned company, Hardy Diagnostics will not be obligated to outside shareholders who care only about the bottom line. This ensures the freedom to emphasize other values, like community involvement, environmental responsibility, and the wellness and satisfaction of the workforce as whole people.

“A company made of hundreds of owners who really care about their work is a powerful, if not unbeatable, force in the marketplace,” states Jay Hardy. “I get a great deal of satisfaction, when an employee tells me that they actually look forward to coming to work each day,” he adds.

Hardy Diagnostics is in good company

Hardy Diagnostics joins a long line of successful employee owned companies such as Southwest Airlines, Publix Super Markets, Gore-Tex, Clif Bar, New Belgium Brewery, and King Arthur Flour. Employee owned companies are renowned as some of the world’s best companies to work for due to their high-involvement employee cultures. Hardy Diagnostics is a successful and rapidly growing company; employee ownership makes a piece of the pie that much more coveted.

Source: PR Newwire


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4 pillars of a sustainable employment brand

Make sure your employment brand is sustainable

Recruitment (Photo credits: www.mydoorsign.com)

Since I started blogging in a regular basis again< I’m also doing guest posting elsewhere from time to time. I’m also returning to the blogger lineup over on Blogging4Jobs.  In fact, my first post for them in 2014 went up yesterday as part of their Recruiting Trends theme week.

My post is 2014 Recruiting Trends: Employment Brands Under Fire #recruittrends Go check it out.

Four ways to build your employment brand

Here are four solid things you can do to make sure your organization maintains a sustainable employment brand.

1.  Foster a positive employee relations environment.  I firmly believe that strong, capable, integrity based leadership  is a key element for success in any organization.  Practicing clear consistent organizational behavior with a clear mission, strong values, and fair treatment of your employees are the foundation elements for a healthy, high performing organization.

2. Put some skin in the game.  I have worked for two employee owned companies, and all the following statements about those companies are still true.  More Profitable. Better performance. More engaged employees.  We need more employee owned companies.

3.  Ensure your business is involved in the community.  If the company contributes to the community, so will the employees.  It becomes a virtuous circle, and builds a better performing organization because people will know you care.  ContributeBuildCreate.

These strategies all build the positive side of your employment brand, and boost your ability to recruit.  They are important all the time, every day.  Make sure your organization is focusing on them.

4. Focus on monitoring  your brand via social media for positive and negative messaging.  In 2014, I believe it will become critical that corporations have a strategy in place to find and respond to such issues as they develop.  While it is inevitable that your response strategy will need coordination across a variety of business units, this is something strategic that HR can take the lead on.

This isn’t stuff you do for damage control or in response to a crisis.  This is stuff you plan and execute as part of every day HR plan.  You can  make your company better and make sure that your employment brand investment continues to pay off every day.


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Work looks different when you own it

Worker owned companies are better

Over the course of my career I’ve been privileged to work at some excellent companies.  Three of them, Texas Instruments, Andersen Windows, and my current employer Publix all had plans that allowed the employees to own an interest in the company via stock or an ESOT or profit-sharing.  These companies shared some common elements.

They were profitable, and high performing.  The employees were committed and engaged.  The cultures were viewed as enviable.   The ownership aspect may not have been the only driver of this success, but it is certainly a major contributor.

When you are an employee AND an owner, it makes the workplace look different.  I can attest personally, it makes you think differently about how you treat company resources.

Skin in the game makes you a better player for the team.

I was reminded of this when I saw this headline from the LaCrosse Tribune,  Badger Corrugating hands over 40 percent ownership to workers.

Check out why the owner gave nearly half the family to his employees:

ESOPs are an increasingly common tool used by businesses to spur growth, save on taxes and get workers more involved in decision-making, said Mary Jo Werner, a CPA and partner with Wipfli in La Crosse.

The plans serve as an option for retirement savings, giving employees a nest egg to hold and sell when they leave the company. Nearly 10.3 million workers in the United States share ownership in their company through an ESOP, including employees at the La Crosse-based grocer Festival Foods.

A percentage of a business’ profits are not taxed with an ESOP, equal to the percentage of the company owned by workers. Tax savings are reinvested into the company.

Ownership can change a worker’s feelings about the fate of the company, engaging them and inspiring teamwork. That kind of attitude adjustment is another potential boon for ESOP businesses, Werner said.

“If you have a stake in the outcome, if you’re an owner in something, you’ll work a little harder,” Werner said. “Be a little more mindful of what opportunities there are for the company.”

Sounds like pretty good advice.  Maybe more companies should look at this strategy in the future.  There are plenty of great companies to benchmark against.  check out this list of great employers from the National Center for Employee Ownership.

Great Employee-Owned Workplaces

The following employee-owned companies have all been recognized as great workplaces by either Winning Workplaces or Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. Employee-owned companies are consistently over-represented on these lists, because in addition to an ownership interest, they often also provide an ownership culture of trust and respect between employees and company leadership. Find more information on employee-owned companies at our survey and list resource gallery!

The companies are listed by industry:

Jobs in Design, Production, and Manufacturing

W.L. Gore & Associates, Performance Wear, Electronics, Cables, and More.
PCL Construction Enterprises, Construction of Commercial Buildings and Civil Infrastructure.
ATA Engineering, Specializing in Complex Mechanical Structures.
Restek, Cromatography Products.
David Evans & Associates, Engineering, Architecture, and Consulting Firm.
Burns & McDonnell, Engineering, Architecture, and Consulting Firm.
Granite Construction, Infrastructure-Related Construction.
TDIndustries, Mechanical Construction and Facility Service.
Medtronic, Medical Technology.
Chroma Technology, Optical Filters.
Exactech, Orthopaedic Products and Solutions.
Hypertherm, Plasma Cutting Systems.
The Railroad Associates Corp., Railroad Design and Construction.
The Sky Factory, Residential and Commercial Skylights.
Skyline Construction Inc., Sustainable/Green Building Construction.
Barclay Water Management, Water Treatment Products and Solutions.

Jobs in Commercial Services

Paychex, Payroll and Human Resource Services.
Quad/Graphics, Print Media Services.
Biomarc, Sterilization of Commercial Environments.
Van Meter Industrial, Electrical and Mechanical Supplier.

Jobs in Finance

Phelps County Bank, General Banking and Investments.
Principal Financial Group, General Banking and Investments.
Bailard Inc., Investment Banking.

Jobs in the Food and Beverage Industry

New Belgium Brewery, Brewery based out of Fort Collins, CO.
King Arthur Flour, America’s Oldest Flour Company.
Publix Supermarkets, Supermarkets throughout the Southeast.
QuikTrip, Convenience Stores in the Midwest and South.

Jobs in Software Design

Autodesk, 3D Design, Entertainment and Engineering Software.
Heavy Construction Systems Specialists Inc., Heavy Construction Software.
Analytical Graphics Inc., Space, Defense and Intelligence Software.

Jobs in Consumer Goods Companies

Jackson’s Hardware, Hardware Store in Northern California.
Men’s Wearhouse, National Men’s Clothing Store Chain.
Proctor & Gamble, Nationally Distributed Household Products.




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