Published: Monday, June 23 2014 7:30 a.m. MDT
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
@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.
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?
"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
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.
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
"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.
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.
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.
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.
DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.— About comments