Virtual Roundtable Events :
Your local ESOP Association chapter is now offering regularly scheduled virtual roundtables for HR professionals, CFOs, and CEOs. Join your peers in ESOP companies to talk about the pressing issues facing your business and share ideas and solutions.

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The ESOP Association

ESOP Association Resources

May. 28
The emotional toll that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Americans is becoming increasingly and alarmingly clear. New information suggests that ESOP companies may want to train an especially keen eye on the well-being of their employee owners.
May. 06
An agreement between Wilmington Trust and the DOL pays funds to ESOPs and includes costs for penalties and legal fees.
COVID-19, remote work, hoteling, third shift
Apr. 27
As companies mull how to return to work, they may want to consider ways that the workplace may need to shift and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some thoughts about how the future may look.
Congressional Testimony
Feb. 10
On Feb. 12, ESOP Association member Daniel Goldstein will testify before the House Committee on Small Business on behalf of The Association and the 10.6 million employee owners in the U.S. - Read More >
ESOP Association, ESOP Blog, Wealth Inequality, Wealth Distribution, Kellogg Foundation, ESOP Research, Rutgers University, Resource
Oct. 16
There is plenty of data about wealth inequality, focusing on data alone misses a key point: Wealth inequality is about people. It is about people who go to work, pay their bills, meet their responsibilities, contribute to their communities, and pay their taxes—and who, in spite of their best efforts, are prevented from sharing in the wealth they help create.
ESOP Blog, Employee Owner of the Year, Employee Ownership Month, Resource
Oct. 16
Jeff Mounts, Marketing Manager at ESP International, absolutely loves a certain quote. When you hear it, you understand a lot about Jeff, why he has become an invaluable member of the Communications Committee at ESP International, and why he earned The ESOP Association award for 2019 Employee Owner of the Year.

That quote? It’s from Albert Einstein, who said: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
ESOP Blog, Employee Training, Culture, Employee Ownership Foundation, ESOP Research, Program Research, Resource
Oct. 07
Providing training to employees helps keep their skills sharp and can lead to improved productivity. It also shows a commitment to employee growth and development that may pay additional dividends, including potentially having a positive effect on employee retention.
ESOP Blog, Employee Ownership Foundation, ESOP Research, Employee Ownership Month, Blog, Resource
Oct. 03
In some ways, the benefits of having an ESOP are obvious: Tax benefits for S and C corps probably are at the top of the list, followed closely by increased employee engagement and productivity.
In other areas, research is constantly finding new and important ways that companies benefit from having an ESOP. Here are just some reasons that have been brought to light by recent research.
ESOP Blog, ESOP Benefits, Retirement Benefits, Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Basics, Employee Training, Employee Ownership Month, Resource
Oct. 01
Today we kick off Employee Ownership Month, a month-long celebration of ESOPs and an opportunity to educate the world about the benefits employee ownership offers to employees and businesses alike.
It’s a celebration that takes a month to complete because there is that much to like—even, love—about ESOPs. And it is all backed up with data—much of it courtesy of the Employee Ownership Foundation and those who support it.
ESOP Blog, Employee Ownership, Employee Ownership Foundation, GSS Research, ESOP Research, Rutgers University, Culture, Resource
Jun. 13
It’s no surprise that Americans disagree about a lot of things….
Just try getting consensus on a group of people’s preference for cats or dogs, pie flavors or person most likely to take the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones. Close to impossible.
ESOP Blog, Employee Ownership Foundation, Wealth Inequality, Rutgers University, Resource
May. 04
There is new evidence that ESOPs can be a powerful mechanism for addressing wealth inequality in America. A study released today by the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing shows that ESOPs help families significantly increase their assets, thereby shrinking gender and racial wealth gaps.
ESOP Blog, Culture, Communications, National Conference, Keynote, Resource
Apr. 24
Frank Luntz, a world-renowned expert on business communication and political trends, will offer his unique insights on communicating in an employee owner setting at the National Conference in May.

ESOP Brief, Repurchase Obligation, Valuation, Resource
Feb. 25
Understanding the repurchase obligation and its effect on an ESOP company’s valuation.
ESOP Brief, Repurchase Obligation, Opportunity Cost, New Present Value, Redeem, Recycle, Resource
Feb. 25
Using opportunity cost to understand the true cost of the repurchase obligation on an ESOP company’s share price.
ESOP Brief, Synthetic Equity, Warrants, Options, Valuation, Resource
Feb. 25
Written for ESOP fiduciaries and trustees, this Brief discusses the interplay of synthetic equity, warrants, and various valuation methods.
Resource, ESOP Brief, ESOP Benefits, Succession Planning, Tax Benefits, Financing, Leveraged ESOP, Diversification
Jan. 29
A basic guide summarizing the unique benefits Employee Stock Ownership Plans offer to owners, employees, and communities. This ESOP Brief is available to the public as an informational resource.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Dec. 21
Two organizations with significant pull in the business world are focusing their attention on the benefits that ESOPs and employee ownership can bring to disadvantaged communities.
The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and the Rockefeller Foundation have been working jointly to explore and promote the use of ESOPs and employee ownership in Qualified Opportunity Zones. These 761 zones include distressed communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories.
ESOP Brief, Dividends, 404(k), Resource
Dec. 20
There are various tax incentives to encourage companies to consider an ESOP. This Brief discusses an employer’s ability to use tax deductible funds to service ESOP debt and the advantages of deductible cash dividends.
ESOP Brief, Distributions, Put Option, Resource
Dec. 20
A guide to the rules surrounding ESOP distributions including an overview of The Put Option.
ESOP Brief, Repurchase Obligation, Resource
Dec. 20
Both S corporation and C corporation ESOP companies must be prepared to pay cash equal in value to stock in a participant’s account, per ERISA distributions rules.
ESOP Brief, Repurchase Obligation, Redeem, Recycle, Opportunity Cost, Resource
Dec. 20
This ESOP Brief introduces the concept of opportunity cost and the implications for share price when private companies devote resources to fund repurchase obligations.
ESOP Brief, Repurchase Obligation, Valuation, Recycle, Redeem, Resource
Dec. 20
This ESOP Brief explains how an ESOP company’s repurchase obligation should be understood and managed, and how the repurchase obligation associated with the ESOP should be reflected in the valuation.
ESOP Brief, Leveraged ESOPs, Convertible Stock, Financing, Resource
Dec. 20
How to use convertible preferred stock in an ESOP.
ESOP Brief, Valuation, Adequate Consideration, Resource
Dec. 19
This Brief answers important questions you may have about ESOP stock valuation, including who may value a stock and how valuations occur.
ESOP Brief, Fair Market Value, Economic Value, Valuation, Distributions, Repurchase Obligation, Resource
Dec. 19
A summary of the valuation issues S corporations can encounter. This is a highly technical ESOP Brief.
ESOP Brief, Leveraged ESOPs, Non-leveraged ESOPs, Financing, Resource
Dec. 19
This Brief describes common accounting practices for non-leveraged and leveraged ESOPs.
ESOP Brief, ESOP Plan Design, Repurchase Obligation, Resource
Dec. 17
A summary of the key steps involved in designing and implementing an ESOP for a privately held company.
ESOP Brief, Tax Benefits, 1042, Dividends, Resource
Dec. 17
A guide to the tax advantages of ESOPs for business planning including both C Corporation and S Corporation tax advantages.
ESOP Brief, Tax Benefits, 1042, Dividends, Why Sell to an ESOP, Resource
Dec. 17
A summary of the mechanics and rules of the tax-free 1042 rollover and related matters.
ESOP Brief, Tax Benefits, Leveraged ESOPs, ESOP Financing, Resource
Dec. 17
A broad overview of the unique characteristics and advantages of ESOP financing as compared with conventional debt financing.
ESOP Brief, Culture, Productivity, Resource
Dec. 17
Why should you consider employee ownership in your company? Does it work? What are the advantages? These questions and more answered in this ESOP Brief.
ESOP Brief, Benefits, Retirement Benefits, Diversification, Distributions, Resource
Dec. 17
A broad overview of how ESOPs compare to other employee benefit plans, like 401(k) plans, and what the benefits of ESOPs are to employee owners.
ESOP Brief, KSOPs, 401(k), Resource
Dec. 17
A summary of how ESOPs and 401(k) plans can work together to benefit the employee owner and the employer.
ESOP Brief, Performance, Revenue, Productivity, Resource
Dec. 17
ESOPs can impact corporate performance in a number of important and beneficial ways.
ESOP Brief, Policy, Employee Ownership, Resource
Dec. 17
An overview of why employee ownership should be a part of national public policy. This is a must-read for executives, owners, and anyone with a stake in the employee ownership community.
ESOP Brief, Voting, Voting Rights, Resource
Dec. 17
A breakdown of the voting rights of ESOP stock participants and beneficiaries.
ESOP Brief, Retirement Benefits, Diversification, Distributions, Resource
Dec. 17
ESOP participants nearing retirement age have the option, by law, to diversify a portion of their ESOP stock. This ESOP Brief discusses why and how participants may consider this option.
ESOP Brief, Tax Benefits, 1042, Dividends, 404(k), 409(p), Resource
Dec. 17
S corporation election can result in substantial tax savings at the corporate level, but some factors may not make S election viable for all companies.
ESOP Brief, Fiduciary Liability, Trustee, Prohibited Transaction, Self Dealing, Adequate Consideration, Breach, Resource
Dec. 06
A guide to the ERISA rules all ESOP fiduciaries need to know to fulfill their obligations.
ESOP Blog, Resource, Government Affairs
Nov. 29
A quick glance at the results of the mid-term elections might leave one feeling that the ESOP community will face challenging days ahead. Certainly the retirement and defeat of key ESOP advocates in Congress—primarily in the House, where tax laws originate—pose a challenge. But there is good news too.
The "Bad" News
First, let’s look at the more challenging news.
We will lose some crucial, long-time ESOP Advocates next year.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Oct. 30
The results of this year’s Economic Performance Survey (EPS) show that, once again, companies belonging to The ESOP Association have experienced positive corporate performance.
Just as importantly, the EPS once again shows that when companies perform well, employee owners share in the rewards. And this year, new data reveal a new facet of how ESOP companies distribute those rewards.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Oct. 26
So, you’re coming to the 2018 Las Vegas Conference and Trade Show, but maybe gambling isn’t your thing. Las Vegas may be home to some of the biggest casinos and hotels in the world – but there are so many other things to do besides gambling. Check out some of our favorite places to visit and activities to do:
ESOP Blog, Resource
Oct. 22

Ownership Culture Runs Deep at Gardener’s Supply Company
Employee ownership is deeply rooted in the culture at the 2018 ESOP Company of the Year, Burlington, VT-based Gardener’s Supply Company. “It is part of who we are… it’s our identity,” says the company’s Director of HR Christie Kane.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Jul. 31
You can never have too many friends in Congress. Politics is inherently changeable, and while it may seem that members of Congress have a job for life, in every session many are replaced—sometimes unexpectedly.
Some announce their retirement while others are defeated in primaries or elections. Some resign for health concerns and some leave for other factors entirely. Whatever the reason, a significant number of elected officials don’t return the following session.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Jun. 26
Why Employee Ownership Was The Right Choice for America
What do Independence Day, ESOPs, and fishing have in common? More than you might think.
During the Revolutionary War, the British attempted to wipe out America’s Cod fleet because it was a critical part of our economy and a source of able hands for America’s growing Navy. Those efforts left the industry crippled for years after the last musket was fired in Yorktown.
ESOP Blog, Resource
May. 18
On May 10, the prestigious Aspen Institute held a panel discussion on employee ownership that was attended by individuals and groups involved in policy making and thought leadership. The ESOP Association assisted in gathering potential speakers.
The event featured a visit from Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), and a four-person panel representing corporate members of The ESOP Association. The panelists included:
ESOP Blog, Resource
Apr. 24
At Entertainment Partners, with our 1,100 employee owners spread out across more than 10 locations nationwide, we rely heavily on technology to help us communicate and connect with each other. To us, “social media” encompasses any technology that enables us to create and share content and make those connections. It could be software specifically geared toward fostering collaboration in the workplace or it could be the same website you use to share hilarious cat videos or that perfectly angled selfie.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Apr. 02
Most businesses wrestle with their health care costs. Being an ESOP does not make us immune to this challenge.
Travel and Transport is a 1,400-person company with offices from Boston to Seattle. We have a self-insured health plan in which approximately two thirds of our employee owners participate. Our plan has run large deficits the past several years and, as a result, we are in the midst of making some major changes.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Mar. 14
For the second year in a row, corporate members of The ESOP Association appear to be managing their expenses extremely well, with resulting positive effects on profits and stock value.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Feb. 28
In this, our final installment on common criticisms of ESOPs—and why they are wrong—we’ll look at the assertion that ESOPs are not real ownership.
According to cynics, ESOPs are “fake” ownership plans. In “real” ownership, they argue, the owners control their assets by determining such things as who runs the company, who sits on the Board of Directors, when major corporate decisions are made that might impact the future of the company, and so on.
But ESOPs are true ownership.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Feb. 14
I often hear three criticisms about ESOPs: The second criticism is that ESOPs are a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Cynics say the tax breaks provided to ESOPs are money losers because the majority of American taxpayers pay higher rates to make up for the cost of ESOP tax benefits.
But anyone who says that must not have done very well in elementary school when they learned basic math. ESOPs offer great returns on tax incentives.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Jan. 31
I am hearing increasingly from certain thought leaders that current ESOP laws do not create “good” employee ownership plans.
Anytime we ESOP advocates encounter someone who takes such a view of ESOPs, we need to ask ourselves, “Why does that person think ESOPs are not good employee ownership plans?” When we know the answer, we can counter the ESOP cynic’s point of view.
In my experience, there are three main criticisms of ESOPs. I’ll deal with each one in a separate blog post.
The first criticism maintains that ESOPs are bad retirement plans.
ESOP Blog, Resource
Jan. 17
For some time now, the data have shown that businesses with employee stock ownership are clearly better than conventionally owned companies at retaining employees. But new insights gleaned from existing research data show that, over a period of 12 years, businesses with employee stock ownership have gotten increasingly and dramatically better than conventionally owned firms at retaining employees.
How much better? Try 235 percent better!
ESOP Blog, Resource
Jan. 03
It would be easy for us to sit back and bask in the comfortable knowledge that the Congressional tax committees did not draft tax reform measures that negatively affect ESOPs.
Certainly, that is good news. But we can’t let that recent success cause us to remain ignorant of the fact there remain plenty of people who do not believe in the things that we believe—that ESOPs are good for our nation, our companies, and employees.
Sometimes that dislike for ESOPs can be harder to spot, because it is hidden under an apparent love for different forms of employee ownership.
The most common form of employee ownership in American is the employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. A huge benefit of ESOPs—for employees and the larger community alike—is that they excel at preserving jobs.