Are employee ownership programs the future of corporate America?

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(BPT) - It's no secret it's a job seekers market. Many people are open to new work and employers are vying to attract the best talent. This gives job seekers more options than ever to find positions where they'll get the best benefits and be happy long-term.

While salary is a core component of an employment package, benefits are just as important. Forward-thinking CEOs are going beyond the basics of health insurance and retirement programs and offering truly meaningful benefits that have a major impact on employees. Employee ownership programs really stand out in attracting top talent, motivating current employees and boosting employee satisfaction.

For instance, Integrity Marketing Group, a leading distributor of life and health insurance, and provider of innovative solutions for wealth management and retirement planning, is a great example. The company has a generous employee ownership program and recently announced that every new employee would immediately be eligible to receive an ownership stake in the company on their first day.

The idea for extending ownership to employees was developed by Integrity CEO Bryan W. Adams who then approached Integrity Chairman and NFL Hall-of-Famer Steve Young with the idea to extend ownership to employees two years ago. The idea immediately resonated with Young. During his time in the NFL he saw teams thrive once partnerships were created between team owners and players.

The company decided to transition to an employee-owned structure, and Adams believes it's the best decision they've ever made for the company's success. Recently Integrity went even further and surprised employees with an unexpected $125 million in cash payouts to employees participating in the company's Employee Ownership Plan.

Eligible employees received cash awards of varying size, based on factors such as position and tenure. Employees who have participated in the program since its 2019 inception received a minimum of $8,000, and still have an estimated $60,000 in current equity value remaining in company shares.

Adams explained why he decided to make such a generous offering to his employees: “Partnership is core to everything we do at Integrity. Our most valued stakeholders — our employees — can now become partners in our tremendous success with this great company.”

"Integrity is truly a company powered by people and we're passionate about our culture of giving back," said Young. "Without question, our motivated, dedicated employees have made Integrity one of the fastest growing companies in America. We couldn't be happier to reward their contributions and dedication — and show them how appreciated they are by sharing in our growth."

Integrity has achieved an impressive year-over-year annual growth in excess of 100% for five years running. Integrity’s nearly 6,000 employees work with more than 450,000 agents and advisors serving more than 10 million clients annually. In 2022, Integrity will help carriers place more than $12 billion in new sales and oversee more than $20 billion of assets under management and advisement through its RIA and broker-dealer platforms.

"When you work with a committed, talented group of individuals who are helping improve the lives of Americans, the decision to share our success becomes an easy one," explained Adams. "In addition to the $125 million they're receiving, our employees will continue to have considerable equity ownership in Integrity. When you consider that the average household savings in America is roughly $17,000, it's easy to see how ownership can help our employees prepare for the good days ahead. This is unquestionably the most meaningful decision and outcome I've ever been part of in my career."

Integrity's proactive approach to employee benefits, inspired by the tactics used in the NFL, allows the company to share its success with employees. Young and Adams are encouraging other business sector leaders to follow suit and include their employees as owners of their company. They are also encouraging job seekers to hold companies to higher standards and look for workplaces, like Integrity, headed by innovative leaders who have their employees’ best interests in mind. For more information visit IntegrityMarketing.com.


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