Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nodler: Employee-invested companies are helping the economy

In his latest report, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, writes about the impact employee-invested companies are having on the economy.

In this troubled economy, more people are asking what can be done to make things better for everybody. I have found that the more you do to better your own situation, the better things are for everybody around you. Taking action is as simple as taking more than just pride in your work—it also means investing in the company you work for.
Employee-owned businesses are doing better than others in these tough economic times. The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) is a private, not for profit organization that offers information on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), stock options and ownership culture. Employee stock ownership plans are a way for an employee to buy into the business for which they work and offer tax advantages to the employee shareholder and to the company. Companies of all sizes are seeing the benefits of this unique opportunity.

The ESOP Association also provides information about the advantages of employee ownership. What people are discovering is the need to feel invested in what they do. Far too many people see their job as just someplace they go to every day, and they lack a feeling that what they do matters. When people literally invest in their careers, they feel a sense of accomplishment and see how even the smallest of details make a difference in the overall quality delivered to their clients.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners all over the world know the meaning of investing in one’s self. They have taken the initial steps to start a business. Employee investing takes this a step further. In this case, the owner and the people who work for them have a vested interest in the company. When you take pride in your job, you do it better and can stop thinking about it as just work—it is something you want to do. It is a win-win situation for everybody.

Employee stock ownership plans give the employee an opportunity not only to help guide where the company goes and how well it does, it also gives the employee the chance to invest in his or her own retirement. In an era where the 401k and other retirement plans are coming up short or no longer being matched by employers, ESOPs are fairing quite well. The reason is they are being driven by the employee and not an outside entity. They are in privately-held companies, not those that trade on the stock market.

Whether you work for someone or own your own business, the advantages of ESOPs are phenomenal. The individuals who take part are seeing success at a time where too many companies are struggling or even failing. Employee ownership is proving itself to be good for business.

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