The Beauty of Worker-Ownership

By, Patrice Turner

Remember when you were a kid and your parents provided everything you needed? Those were the days. Have you ever wondered, though, why your parents sometimes made you do extra chores, find ways to earn your own money and save it and buy your own extras? Most likely they were trying to teach you the value of money and the pride of ownership. The idea being that when you invest your own time and spend your own money on something, you take better care of it.

That’s the same idea behind worker-ownership in business. There is an inherent pride in ownership that creates a greater sense of responsibility among employees. Working to build wealth for yourself is very different that working to build it for someone else.

This ownership structure benefits employees in a myriad of ways. They benefit in the present by the pride of cooperative ownership and by their current pay. Employees benefit in the future because they have a built-in retirement savings plan and take a higher degree of pride in the present and future success of the business. Employees in a position of ownership will also hold each other accountable for completing tasks and satisfying customers and clients.

Research indicates that worker-owned companies experience greater growth than their corporate or privately owned counterparts. Employees are more mindful of company expenses and are more likely to help the company save money when that savings directly benefits them. Employee-owners help in small ways like remembering to turn off lights when leaving rooms and making responsible use of office supplies. They help in larger ways like finding creative ways to bring in new clients and cross-selling to boost individual client purchases.

Worker-ownership among employees positions the company to receive funding based on their minority-owned status. This can help companies compete in a larger marketplace by providing funds to assist in increasing brand awareness, implementing new marketing strategies, and decreasing the per unit cost of inventory when it is purchased in larger quantities.

Starting, maintaining, and growing a small business is challenging and rewarding. Sharing the responsibility and ownership is a win-win for everyone.



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