The Value of Employees with Literal Buy-In

I read last week about a company that has decided to give employees an ownership stake. 

Integrity Marketing Group, a distributor of life and health insurance products based in Dallas, revealed an employee ownership plan where all 750 of the company’s workers have a stake in the firm, according to reporting by Brett Molina in USA Today.

When you give employees a piece of your company, whether it’s a privately held company doing it the way Integrity Marketing Group has done, or you’re a public company that gives employees stock options, you give employees a reason to do an even better job for your customers—and you. 

Another way to turn employees into greater stakeholders is to award bonuses to the company as a whole when revenue goals are met. I write about medical practices for a health trade publication where I am editor, and many of these practices take the approach of awarding all employees together with the same level of bonus when the practice reaches its financial goals. Could your company do something similar?

What are other ways to give employees literal buy-in? One might be to expand internal promotion opportunities, so that a greater swath of employees is shown a path to greater career growth and higher salaries if their department generates a specified amount of revenues, or reaches another goal, such as in customer growth. 

Internal promotion opportunities often are mentioned to employees in vague terms, as something that might be open to them sometime in the distant future. Employees know that, in general, they need to do a good job to get the chance for a promotion, but probably don’t have specific benchmarks they would have to reach to have access to those opportunities. By tying the possibility of advancement to specific goals, you incentivize employees to do better, and you also give them a financial and career-growth stake for their department—and by default, the company—to do better.

Another idea is to give each employee the opportunity to devote a portion of the company’s charitable-giving budget to a charity of his or her choosing. Millennials and Generation Zers are inspired by working for employers that show corporate social responsibility and care about the same things they do. Giving them a chance to personally raise money for a charity they care about if the company reaches its financial goals can act as a strong motivator. It gives the employee a greater stake in the financial performance of the company, tying the company’s success to the opportunity to help a cause the employee cares about.

Yet another way to give employees a stake in the company’s financial success is to offer them a chance to vote on one new benefit at the end of the year if the company reaches its goals. For example, employees could vote to add the option for pet insurance to their benefits package, or vote to add an additional vacation day, or to add the option for flex-time scheduling. Every year, employees would have the chance to make their lives more comfortable—if they work together to help the company meets its financial goals. 

What other ways can you think of to give employees literal buy-in to the financial success of your company? 

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