Since 1988, The Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) has provided various types of owner education training to the employee owned community. Our nearly fourteen years of experience in the field have shown that the following elements help foster effective programs for training and development in employee owned firms:
Employee involvement and training efforts should be developed in support of employee owned firms’ goals and ongoing efforts to make real changes which eliminate waste (scrap, rework, excessive inventory, and inefficiencies) but not workers, and improve working life.
An oversight committee composed of representatives of the employee groups involved in a training initiative should get involved in helping to plan communicate, and evaluate feedback on the program.
Successful training programs produce results quickly when designed to build internal capacity to continue the program. Thus, we recommend involving non-managerial, salaried, and hourly trainer/facilitators in the development and delivery phases of the training program. This approach can cut costs in the long run, enables firms to train new hires without additional costs, and builds shop floor and union expertise.
Reflective of the reality that ESOP stock ownership alone does not automatically lead to increased employee commitment and firm performance, OEOC training programs are designed to:
- interface with firms’ existing or soon-to-be-developed employee participation structures;
- ensure basic understanding of employee roles, rights, and responsibilities as owners, including how they own the business through an ESOP, what drives the business they own, and how to read the financial information they get as owners;
- combine applied research, company-specific information, and specially designed materials which address firms’ unique situations;
- allow people to learn by doing through interactive exercises that tap into their knowledge and experiences; and
- build firms’ internal capacity to do ongoing training.
Assessment of Ownership Culture:
The OEOC can aid in team or company-wide assessments to help identify firms’ best practices and current needs in bringing about effective employee ownership and participation. Surveys and feedback may be used as tools for planning, understanding strengths and weaknesses, and as baseline data for periodic measurement of progress toward firms’ employee ownership and HR goals.
These OEOC training services provide basic information and training geared to aid employee owners in developing an understanding of their ESOP and business.
ABC’s of ESOPs: Based on plan documents, ABC’s of ESOPs sessions might include the basics of ESOP mechanics; roles, rights, and responsibilities of employee owners; and exercises which reinforce basic ESOP concepts.
What Drives Your Business: This OEOC training service helps employee owners understand their firm’s business, markets, and objectives. Key business concepts and strategies–such as process improvement, capital investment, and competitive elements in the workplace–may be highlighted and addressed. This program is appropriate for non-managerial employees.
Board Training: The OEOC’s Board Training covers legal rights and responsibilities, the role of the board in corporate governance and decision- making, and effective group process approaches. This program is appropriate for non-managerial employees who serve on the board of employee owned firms.
ESOP Administration Committee Training: Participants in ESOP Administration Committee Training examine rights and obligations according to the ESOP plan; basic legal issues; prudent care and record keeping; repurchase issues; and common pitfalls for administration committees.
Team Effectiveness Training:
While working as a team can be difficult, successful employee ownership requires teamwork and problem solving skills. Using team-based exercises, participants learn how to make group meetings positive experiences and apply problem solving approaches which will guarantee that every meeting gets results.
Employee owners should get basic financial information about the business they own. But do they understand it? The OEOC’s financial training program prepares employee owners to understand their business’ financial statements and to use them in decision making.
Understanding Financial Reports: A basic introduction to business financials. Participants learn the basics of financial statements, and terms found on their firm’s balance sheet, profit & loss, and cash flow statements. This is a one day program appropriate for all non-managerial employees.
Financial Analysis: This workshop teaches employee owners to analyze financial statements, examining the operating cycle, cash flow, and working capital needs; to figure standard financial ratios; and to apply these skills in uncovering the financial problems of a simulated ESOP firm. This program is appropriate for non-managerial employees serving on teams, boards, and committees.
Leadership Development Retreats:
This workshop explores skills and attitudes needed to lead employee involvement efforts. Possible topics include managing change, leading group meetings, communications and effective listening, problem solving, conflict management, building trust, and action planning. These programs are appropriate for management, union, or shop floor leaders.
The OEOC offers training and coaching for steering committee members and in-house facilitators to build firms’ internal capacity in the areas of group facilitation, owner education, and financial education.
Doing Financial Training, A Financial Train-The-Trainer Workshop: This program is designed to help trainers at employee owned firms develop their own, in-house financial education classes.
In Supervising Owners, Supervisors at employee owned companies explore new styles of management, common problems and stumbling blocks, and develop interpersonal skills. The training makes use of hands-on exercises to illustrate leadership approaches to specific workplace situations.
An overview of OEOC training programs in PDF format