You may hear companies proudly proclaim they are employee-owned. But there’s always some mystery to that sentence that leaves people wondering. How do employees “own” their company? Does that mean everyone is in charge? How does employee ownership work?

When a company is employee-owned, it means they have an Employee Stock Ownership Program, or ESOP. It’s a rare and beautiful thing to be 100% employee-owned (many companies with an ESOP are only partial), and we’re more than happy to explain how employee ownership works in general, and here at Strategies To Empower People.

In this webpage we hope to answer commonly asked questions about ESOP and share the meaning of being 100% employee-owned company. Strategies To Empower People adopted an ESOP effective January 1, 2018.

If we do not answer your questions please reach out to us and we will directly get those answers for you 916-679-1555

An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is a tax-qualified retirement plan authorized and encouraged by federal tax and pension laws and falls under ERISA regulations. Employee ownership means no single person, family, or third party is a majority shareholder of company stock. Instead, the company’s stock is allocated among employees through shares.

Once an employee meets the eligibility requirements, they will be allocated shares of stock annually if remaining a qualified participant. These contributions are made by the company, there is no out of pocket cost to the shareholder. The amount of shares allocated to each shareholder is calculated on the employee’s earnings as a percentage of total payroll. The plan has a valuation calculated each year by an outside party that is educated specifically in doing valuations of companies for this purpose.

An ESOP is considered to be a retirement plan, as is the 401k Plan, with some significant differences. Our 401k is primarily employee-driven, meaning each employee funds their 401K account via pre-tax payroll deductions with an employer match (see the 401k section for additional information). Our 401k is a Safe Harbor plan, so there is no vesting with the 401k.  There are no paycheck deductions for ESOP benefits, contributions to eligible employee’s ESOP accounts are made by the company. The employee makes no contributions to the ESOP from their paychecks. Vesting does apply to the ESOP plan (see brochure tabs on this page for specifics), so the longer an employee works here, the more they will have.

Our Board of Directors works for our employees (the Shareholders) and vote on any major decisions for the company for the benefit of the Shareholders. The Board of Directors oversees the management, ensuring that activities, actions, and decisions benefit the employees and company. Management and departments report to the board. The board reports to the Trustee, who is the caretaker of the stock and money in the ESOP. The Trustee must do all actions with the shareholders interest the highest priority.

One of the main reasons we are an ESOP is to maintain the mission and values of the company, as well as benefiting the shareholders. For the shareholders, it is another retirement plan

Meet the Board Members

Jacquie Foss

Board Director

Sandy Jones

Board Director

Doug Wright

Board Director

Marcey Brightwell

Board Director