Bret Keisling shares great ideas for celebrating Employee Ownership Month (EOM), including: company-wide parties that highlight company and employee owner milestones (don't forget the pie!); inviting elected officials and journalists to visit the company and its owners; arrange presentations by ESOP and co-op service providers to educate owners; and sponsoring contests to design posters, t-shirts, or even holiday and New Year's greeting cards with an employee ownership theme.
Also, Bret shares highlights from EOM's origin. The former head of The ESOP Association (TEA), Michael Keeling, credits The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) founder Corey Rosen with the idea and promoting it and turning it into the great celebration we have today.
Is your company celebrating Employee Ownership Month? Let us know what you're doing. We'd love to share your events and successes on future episodes of the Podcast.
Listen to Michael Keeling share the origin story of EOM on the EsOp Mini-cast Episode 201: Michael Keeling - The Origins of EOM, ICYMI.
Mini-cast 238 Transcript
[00:00:00] Bret Keisling: Welcome to the ESOP Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling, and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. Happy Employee Ownership Month, which has become one of my favorite times of the year.
[00:00:38] Our friend, Michael Keeling, who spent almost 30 years as the CEO of The ESOP Association credits Corey Rosen, founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership, who began to promote Employee Ownership Month sometime around 1989 or 90. Corey went to The ESOP Association asking if they would co-sponsor EOM with The NCEO and The ESOP Association declined. Well, that didn't stop Corey and The NCEO from following through and that grew from very humble beginnings to what we see today, which has just about every employee ownership organization, and many, many, many of our great employee-owned companies celebrate EO and especially its employee owners all month long.
[00:01:23] There are so many great ideas on how to celebrate employee ownership that I wanted to share some of my favorites with you today.
[00:01:30] Many companies use the opportunity to throw breakfast or lunch or company-wide parties. And you'll often find pies featured prominently in the celebration. Whether it's fruit pies or pizza pies or pot pies. They all hope to reinforce one of the strongest messages of employee ownership, which is we grow the pie and we share the pie together.
[00:01:54] At the company celebrations, it's a great opportunity to give shout-outs to employee owners for becoming fully or partially vested in the ESOP. It's also a great time to celebrate milestones with the company, whether it's one year, five year, ten years, and more, and to celebrate any upcoming retirements.
[00:02:12] Many companies take the opportunity to have trivia contests or play ESOP jeopardy. The questions can be about employee ownership generally, or tailored specifically to the company's information, such as vesting policies for ESOP's or share values, et cetera. Prizes are often awarded for those doing the best job of answering the trivia.
[00:02:34] Another great idea is to invite visitors to tour the company and meet the employee owners. Elected officials of any level from the top of US senators or representatives, down through state senators and representatives, and mayors, county commissioners, or municipal supervisors. All of them often welcome the opportunity to meet constituents.
[00:02:56] Don't forget to invite journalists to tour your company, as well as either general assignment reporters or business reporters from your local news outlet or business journals, et cetera. Help celebrate your company and spread the word about employee ownership through these visits.
[00:03:13] It's also a great opportunity to invite your service providers to the company. I was an ESOP trustee for seven years and I loved, let me emphasize, loved visiting my client companies, especially during Employee Ownership Month! You can have your trustee or third-party administrator and, yes, even the ESOP lawyers come in and give a presentation that will educate but, perhaps even more importantly, will give the employee owners an opportunity to spend time with the professionals that help keep the ESOP running.
[00:03:43] Indeed, they don't even have to be one of your service providers. I'm excited to be doing two presentations at the end of October at an ESOP company that wanted to bring an outside speaker in to kind of motivate and celebrate the employee owners, and I'm delighted that they reached out and invited me.
[00:04:00] Another great idea I've seen is to have design contests centered around employee ownership. Employee owners could design posters, t-shirts, or even greeting cards to be used over the holidays or for New Year's. All of course with the theme of celebrating EO and the employee owners.
[00:04:17] These are just a couple of ideas we've come across and love for celebrating employee ownership. If your company's doing something cool this month, we'd love you to tag us on social media or reach out to us. We'd love to amplify and celebrate your Employee Ownership Month activities. We'll share how to find us in just a moment.
[00:04:36] With that we'll wrap up this episode of the ESOP Mini-cast. Happy Employee Ownership Month to everybody and thank you so much for listening.
[00:04:45] This is Bret Keisling. Be well.
[00:04:48] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook at EO Podcast Network and on Twitter @EsOpPodcast. This podcast has been produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network. Original music composed by Max Keisling. Branding and Marketing by BitsyPlus Design. And I'm Bitsy McCann.
Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.
A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Descript, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The EsOp Podcast, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.