Growth Through Employee Ownership

Jul 9, 2013   |   By Eric Monroe

Most newcomers to SEI sense a real uniqueness here. They suddenly don’t feel the competition present in most company cultures. Sometimes it takes a while for them to drop their guard and feel the camaraderie here, camaraderie not present in many other places. They feel like we’re all working toward a common goal. Why is that?

One Common Goal

On a regular basis, all of the SEI consultants within an LOC get together for a staff meeting. It’s a fun gathering where we get the opportunity to see one another and to discuss what is going on at each account, our recruiting pipeline, and the sales pipeline. In addition to the regular things that might go on at a staff meeting, once a quarter, we review our numbers. What numbers would a private company want to share with its employees? At SEI, it’s all of them – Revenue, Expenses, Labor, and the bottom line – Net Income. Why would a private company divulge so much information to its employees? Quite simply, because many of the employees are also owners of the company.

Through our Stock Incentive Program, employees are transferred ownership in the company upon the company reaching financial milestones. We’re not talking about just some smoke-and-mirrors profit sharing program; SEI employees have the opportunity to participate in the ownership of their company – and a substantial portion of the company’s profits flow back to the employee-owners. The remaining portions of the company’s profits are distributed in a transparent manner as profit sharing to all eligible employees, not just the employee-owners. This gives most employees the opportunity to participate in the financial success of the company.

Employee Ownership Culture

This raises the question of why would the founder of a private company give his company away to its employees? In a word: growth. Creating a culture of employee ownership changes the way you think about work and your career. It motivates you. It makes you committed. It creates a company full of people that want to grow and improve. It makes you think about the decisions the company makes, and fosters input into those decisions. It makes you think about collaboration and how you can better help your colleagues be successful in their engagements. It makes you get involved in the recruiting process and attract other quality consultants who are not only good at what they do professionally, but also share similar business values and vision.

Long Term Sustainable Growth

All of this synthesizes into the growth of our consulting business in a high-quality, sustainable manner. Over the long term, it is better for SEI, the employee-owners, and our clients to drive quality growth – not just growth for the sake of numbers. Does your company allow employees to become owners? Mine does, and I own it!

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