Owner Perspective: Becoming An Employee-Owner

June 1, 2018

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By Ben Weiler, NCM Associates

NCM Associates is a 70-year-old company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. Its longevity has a lot to do with its tradition of innovation, exemplified by its transition to an employee stock ownership program (ESOP). NCM has been 100% employee-owned since our founders—Nichols, Campbell, and Morrow—transferred ownership of the company to an ESOP trust, and in turn, its employees in 1988. Prior to joining NCM, I honestly didn’t know ESOPs existed, much less what they were and what working for one could mean for me.

As a millennial, I grew up learning the importance of saving for retirement, and how my generation would not be able to count on Social Security as a reliable and diversified source of financial security. Given this reality, it always proved difficult to be confident in my plans when it seemed like my only options relied on the performance of the volatile stock market. As an employee-owner at NCM, I’m relieved to learn that I have other reliable options to save for retirement. NCM allows me to be actively involved in the success and growth of my own financial security, and I know that my professional successes not only directly benefit my company but impact my teammates’ future as well.

An ESOP culture exemplifies how every worker wants their organization to be: people fully engaged in their work and the outcome. My fellow owners and I all want our business to grow by providing the best possible service, products, and expertise available. When I arrive at work, I am surrounded by colleagues who are striving to be the best. We hold each other accountable, and everyone is willing to do a bit more when needed, so that every single person, whether they’re a client or an employee, is provided with an opportunity to succeed. At NCM, we strive to live out our brand promise: Helping each other succeed every day. This success allows us to not only invest in our own future, but the ability to bring on new employee-owners from our community as well.

Since forming an ESOP, NCM continues to grow, allowing us to bring on more employee-owners, and ultimately, provide more jobs in our community. Prior to our ESOP status, NCM Associates had 45 employees. Today, we have 130 employee-owners and are expecting to be at 140 by the end of 2018.

We have achieved so much together due to the transparency we have about the company’s success, our future plans for diversification, and the ambition of all associates to “think like owners.”

All of this is possible thanks to the decision our founders made to transform NCM to an ESOP, allowing employee-owners like me to directly contribute to their own success.

Ben Weiler is the Content Manager for the Marketing Department at NCM Associates. He became an employee-owner in December 2017, where he joined a team that shares 15 years of collective experience at NCM.

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