The Start of Our Journey
In 2020, we implemented our Venturity Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and sold our first 20% of Venturity to the ESOP, becoming 20% employee-owned. It was an historic moment for our company and our team, but it was really just the beginning. While many companies stop at selling a minority interest of the company to their ESOP, we’re committed to going all the way by selling the remaining 80% of Venturity over the next 10 years to the ESOP.
Once we completed that first step, we began to ask ourselves: “Where do we go from here? How do we continue to step up our commitment to being employee-owned?” That’s when we became aware of Certified Employee-Owned, or Certified EO for short.
What It’s All About
Certified EO’s purpose is really two-fold. First, Certified EO only lends their certification to companies that are majority employee-owned or have made the public commitment to be majority employee-owned. Our public commitment to our team and community to execute a clearly articulated plan to reach 100% employee ownership qualified us for the certification. We decided to pursue certification because we saw it as a way to reinforce our commitment to 100% employee ownership and “put our money where our mouth is” as they say.
Second, Certified EO is there to support member companies with tools and resources to help communicate the value of employee ownership to both employee-owners as well as the community at large. The tricky part about employee ownership through an ESOP is that it can be complicated to get your head around as a team member. It’s also a long-term play, so it can be difficult to keep the ownership meaningful in the everyday lives of team members. The tools and resources available from Certified EO help with that. They also help tell our ESOP story to the community and increase our visibility as an employee-owned company, both of which will hopefully attract new team members and clients who value employee ownership.
Where We Are Now
As a result of these benefits, we applied and successfully became a Certified Employee-Owned company in March of this year. Certified EO immediately reached out to set up a communication plan for the year and we’ve already put their materials to work in LinkedIn posts detailing our journey. We now feel supported by a larger team and not out on own. We’ve definitely stepped up our employee ownership journey by becoming a part of Certified EO.