When Companies Implement Employee Stock Ownership Plans, Evidence Shows Increased Business Operations
As a professional services firm, our people are at the core of everything we do. So, it’s particularly important to us to attract and retain the best people. According to research, people tend to love their jobs if they believe their work makes a real impact in the world and if the company’s success has a real impact on their own lives. For more than 20 years, BranchPattern has attracted people wanting to improve lives by creating better built environments. We get to work on projects that help lead a movement in the building industry towards a more sustainable world.
Data gained from our recent internal engagement survey revealed that one of the leading drivers for our employees is their connection to the impact of our work. This year the firm took a big step towards strengthening the impact our success has on our employee’s own lives. BranchPattern has established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP.
The why? It is simple, we want to reward every member of the BranchPattern family with the firm’s success. We not only want to reward them, we also want to challenge them to continue to grow themselves and BranchPattern, because with our firm’s growth the more impact we can make in the world. In its recent publication, Employee Ownership and Corporate Performance, A Review of Research U.S. Companies, the National Center for Employee Ownership concluded that, “researchers now agree that the ‘case is closed’ on employee ownership and corporate performance. We can say with certainty that when ownership and participative management are combined, substantial gains result.”
Some might wonder how an internal shift to an ESOP would benefit our clients. The benefit to clients is great people who love serving them. According to The Menke Group, 83.3% of ESOP Association members report that motivation and productivity increased as a result of the ESOP implementation. Our employees have always taken a customer centric approach, and now every member of the BranchPattern family has a stronger connection to our clients’ success. People work best when they work for themselves, and BranchPattern is now a firm of all employee owners.
The ESOP establishes an incentive-based retirement program for employees, making them beneficial stock owners in the firm where they work. Those duties are aimed at fulfilling our purpose of improving life.
The core belief behind the ESOP is that we truly value each employee’s membership in the firm, and care about their life after BranchPattern.
“BranchPattern employees receive this significant equity at no cost to them,” said Stefani Voorhees, HR + Talent Manager. “It is an additional retirement benefit in addition to the 401k matching we have been providing. The core belief behind the ESOP is that we truly value each employee’s membership in the firm, and care about their life after BranchPattern. Our employees continually give of themselves, and this is a way BranchPattern is able to return the favor.”
The decision to become an ESOP has been many years in the making and a decision that was not made lightly. Company Controller and BranchPattern Board Member, Aaron Stover, was a large advocate for the transition and key in its facilitation. “Moving to an ESOP signifies a promise kept where the firm is strategically transferring ownership to our employees over time, while maintaining the firm’s strong financial well-being.” Aaron said. “Personally, I’m excited to witness how becoming owners will guide our employees in their daily job functions and decision-making.”
The shift in our employees’ mindsets began as soon as this change was announced. “The ESOP is a great retirement benefit, but it’s about much more than that,” said Roe Gammon, Technology Designer at BranchPattern. “I know that any little thing I can do to make a process better or go the extra mile for a client, I’m doing that for everyone in my company and their family.” Gammon continued, “Those little decisions define who we are, and anything that encourages that positively is great. Making those daily decisions is a cool way of patting your coworkers on the back, and you know they’re doing the same for you. It all achieves a mutual improvement in quality.”
We hire great people and we do great things for them. ESOP is a way for us to continue the path of commitment, high quality, and excellence in the field. In fact, Andrew Bridges, MEP Practice lead in our KC office, and 10-year veteran of BranchPattern, has already seen a new drive in his fellow employees that wasn’t present prior to the adoption of the ESOP.
“Our team is already finding ways to deliver a higher quality service more efficiently,” Andrew said. “We all feel a greater responsibility to each other, our customers and the success of BranchPattern.”