For the employee-owners at New Belgium Brewing and Clif Bar, it comes as no surprise that their companies made the top ten in the “Top 30 Best Places to Work” by Outside Magazine. They experience firsthand the engaging, hard-working and innovative culture that employee ownership embraces, making their companies the place to establish a career.
From a built-in company track, climbing wall, on-site yoga, a free cruiser bike after one year, a beer culture training in Belgium after 5 years, and complimentary “shift beers” at the end of the workday at New Belgium, to an organic cafeteria with discounted meals and a $500 stipend for buying a commuter bike at Clif Bar, it is clear that there are a wide range of perks at these companies.
While these perks can make the workday more enjoyable and exciting, there is another bonus to working for an S corporation ESOP that lasts a lifetime. As employee-owned companies, employees are able to prepare for a secure retirement through their employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), a qualified retirement savings plan which is fully funded by the profits of the company. As powerful savings vehicles, S ESOPs also generate $14 billion in new savings each year for workers that would otherwise not exist, according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania.
ESOPs benefit companies through the culture of ownership they create. Employees understand that they are not just working for themselves and push each other to succeed, forming a team-like attitude.. Kit Crawford of Clif Bar explains:
Employee ownership is one more way we could run a different kind of business: one that inspires a team of people to make the kind of delicious, nutritious food we’d like to eat, and that strives for a healthier, more sustainable world.
When it comes down to it, what could be a better way to inspire employees to work hard and efficiently then to have them personally and financially invested in the company?
Further, a study from the Georgetown University/McDonough School of Business, Resilience and Retirement Security: Performance of S‐ESOP Firms in the Recession, found that companies like New Belgium and Clif Bar have weathered the economic storm better than their non-ESOP counterparts in job creation and preservation. This is because firms with loyal employees incur fewer expenses with lower turnover, which allows them to reinvest and grow at a faster rate as they hire more workers and increase output.
It is critical to preserve and expand the S ESOP business model so that future generations can have the same opportunity to gain from employee ownership.
Congratulations to New Belgium Brewing and Clif Bar, keep up the great work!