Shopping for a great benefit

Something for the weekend…

Employers are always looking for the best perks to offer to employees, but how many have considered given them the whole business as a benefit?

Joe Lueken, owner of Lueken’s Village foods, a two-shop chain of supermarkets in Bemidji, Minnesota and an Econofoods in Wahpeton, Minnesota, is giving his employees ownership of the business through an employee stock ownership plan (Esop).

From 1 January 2013, employees will be given shares based on their length of service and salary, with the goal of 100% employee-ownership within five years, in which time the Esop will purchase the business through a series of transactions.

According to the organisation’s website, Lueken had been approached with offers to buy the business, but he felt that giving staff ownership would benefit them, their families and the local community.

Giving away the whole business might be a step too far for many employers, but it would certainly foster loyalty, and retention rates are likely to be pretty good when employees are their own boss.