Comments about ‘John Hoffmire: Does everyone want to be an owner?’

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Published: Monday, June 23 2014 7:30 a.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, June 25 2014 6:17 a.m. MDT

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marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

It's not so much that people want to be owners, rather they'd like to be their own boss. I've been an employee most of my life, but I tried twice to be self-employed - couldn't swing it but I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. People want to be their own boss!

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

The next best thing to being one's own boss is to be in a cooperative. The writer should explore some of the cooperatives which were set up during the good old hippie days of the 60's and 70's, particularly agricultural. Some of these are still going strong.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

I drive across town to shop at Winco because they're employee owned.

People tend to take ownership when they have interest in it, or are treated and appreciated as partners in the companies growth and future.

It's hard to see your employees this way, when you believe that you "Built it all by yourself" and can't see them as assets, only cost, liability, and blips on their bottom line.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It would be great to be part of the ownership of the company IF everything went smoothly and the company was a success. But that's not always the case.

The question you need to ask yourself is... if the company fails... do I want my own family to go into bankruptcy because I was an owner of the failed company?

Not many people want that risk.

You can't have it both ways (profit if it succeeds, but not be hurt if it fails).

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The hate and anger shown employee unions is a perfect looking glass through which to see Employee Ownership plans. As a general rule, business owners, managers and stock holders, don't want anyone telling them how to run their business.

Believing this, I think most ESOPs have ulterior motives. Like the Bail out. When a company has run it's course and faces becoming obsolete, it is time to transfer the ownership to someone else.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Happy Valley Heretic,

I used to drive to WINCO for the same reason. I'm wondering if you've experienced the same thing I have.. customer service is low priority!

Nobody's low enough on the totem pole to go out and collect the shopping carts, so I've frequently had to walk out of the store (because there are no carts in the store) and wander the parking lot to find a shopping cart so I can go back and do my shopping.

They won't take credit cards (what kind of business in modern America won't take credit cards)? It's about the convenience for your customers, not what's cheapest for the business!

I guess because they're all owners nobody can help bag groceries? Or go get the carts?

I've never been able to find an employee when I need help. That matters to MOST business owners. In fact customer service is their #1 priority. Seems like cheapness of products and having the fewest number of employees is WINCO's ONLY priority.

But I hope they succeed, because I like that they are employee owned. But somebody there needs to focus on customer service.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

In the DNews bio of Mr. Hoffmire it says that he designs Employee Stock Ownership plans, so however correct he may be about the benefits of such plans he is hardly an objective source of information.

My concern with employee ownership is that it would be funded at the expense of employees 401K plans. It seems that the ESO plans would lack financial diversity, and not have the portability of 401K's.

Is there any data showing that employee owned companies are more successful than other types of companies, and that they benefit employees more than well funded 401k's?

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"Why might a person not want to be an owner?"

Simple answer there. It can be answered in one word - "Enron". Thousands of employees saw their entire retirement savings gone in hours do to bad management on top. Or perhaps two words - "Northern Telecom". Same story. People had relied on this investment in their own companies stock as their retirement plan... and lost it all when the company failed. The story has been repeated many times over.

On the flip side, I personally have greatly benefited from these plans. Through these, I benefited from one IPO that ended up paying for may house. So they can work, but are far from risk. And that is where they are difficult, is through these, the employees assume some of the risk, but too often still lack authority to influence business decisions.

With increased upside, comes increased downside as well. Overall though, it is a great system

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

Not everyone wants to be their own boss. Starting your own business can be very hard and not everyone wants that. It is great for many, but not for all.

2 bits: "You can't have it both ways (profit if it succeeds, but not be hurt if it fails)."

Tell that to a bunch of top executives at major corporations. Too many CEOs walk away from a failed company with a golden parachute even if they contributed greatly to its downfall.

If employee ownership for all employees was treated like executive compensation (a perk that is not used to pay you less salary and will benefit you if the company is a success without hurting you if it fails) then I would be all for it.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Not every person wants all the pressure and risk involved in being a business owner (and being on the line for every decision, and having to pay every bill, and manage the nitty-gritty details of the business every day).

Not every person wants the responsibility of firing their co-worker (or co-owner) when things get tough to keep the company afloat). It's just not for everybody.

Some people just want to do their job... and get their pay-check.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"Some people just want to do their job... and get their pay-check."

...and the reap in proportion to what they sow, or at least it is supposed to be that way. Unfortunately we have seen on either end of the spectrum that adage doesn't always ring true.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

So, who can claim that shareholders of most corporations are "effective" owners? Most of them care only about the holy capitalist trinity of stock price, profit, and earnings per share. Employee owners would have a vested interest far beyond the level of most corporate owners.

Granted, it's not easy to change the wage-laborer mentality that corporations have bred for 150 years, but as Hoffmire points out, it can be done. The Mondragon cooperatives in Spain, which have been highly successful for over 50 years now, do not immediately move a new operation to employee-owner status. There is a culture that has to be created first, before workers are ready for the responsibilities of ownership. But it sure beats the alternative, which is currently in the throes of strangling itself to death.

Screwdriver
Casa Grande, AZ

Employees get laid off when things go bad anyway. It's not like we're not risking anything when we choose whom to work for.

Some of these "plans" just put employees in a higher risk situation while some are additional rewards and incentives to have motives aligned with profits. It all depends on the plan. Choose carefully.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Kent C. DeForrest,

Re: " it sure beats the alternative, which is currently in the throes of strangling itself to death"...

I think your Leftist-Rhetoric and Democrat-coolaid has finally caught up with you. If you still think Capitalism is in the process of dieing... how do you explain the stock market recovery (currently at all time highs). And the economic recovery we have had since 2007? It THAT "dieing"? No!

I know you HOPE it dies... but you have to face reality... it's not actually dieing (only in your hopeful mind)... It's actually growing and getting better.

It needs to grow FASTER for jobs to keep up with population growth and immigration... but it's working... It just takes time to adjust (naturally).

The Government can make artificial adjustments that happen now (but aren't sustainable in a natural system). But for it to adjust naturally takes time, but it works. It's natural law. When people want something (and are willing to pay for it).. somebody will find a way to provide it to them, and the economy grows, jobs grow. Not by Government mandate, but by natural market forces and demand for new products/services.

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