Is it in Top Management`s Job Description?

April 19, 2013
Jeffrey Evans
The Will-Burt Company
CEO, President and Chairman
Jeffrey Evans, THE Will-Burt Company
Will-Burt: 1894, 1918, 1986 ESOP
6th CEO over 120 years
Several other ESOP boards of directors
How do ESOPs stack up with others?
Employee-owned companies do better
than their peers
◦ Sales and profits
◦ Employee morale
◦ Adherence to values and mission
◦ Long-term wealth creation for everyone
ESOP Success Examples
Will-Burt from 2000 through today
ESOP company on the verge of
TRW / Argotech
Firestone Tire Stores
So HOW does this happen?
It starts at the top - leadership must
be committed to the ownership culture
Employees that think and behave like
owners perform like owners
HOW is the Culture Built and Nurtured?
Communications – start with listening
Shared challenges, shared resources,
and shared benefits
Be true to your values
1. Communications
Start with listening
 Quarterly Newsletter
 Quarterly All Hands Meeting
 Weekly “News from the ‘Burt”
 Open door policy
1. Communications
Monthly lunch with the president
Monthly EAC meeting (employee
activity committee)
Z-Dep quality policy
2. Shared Challenges, Resources, Rewards
Open book management
◦ “The good, the bad, and the ugly”
◦ Everyone needs to understand the goals
◦ Include key objectives and metrics
◦ Everyone gets annual strategic plan summary
Accountability and alignment
◦ “It is not / IT IS my job!”
2. Shared Challenges, Resources, Rewards
Good communications, alignment and
accountability lead to a “Snowball Effect”
Develop and follow the plan
See improvement
Achieve shared profits and stock valuation
Go back to step #1
3. Be True to Your Values
Will-Burt Mission and Values
 Long-term Goal: Make Will-Burt a place
where people want to work
 Quality, safety and profit (in that order)
 Balance between current income and
bonus, benefits, and long-term stock
3. Be True to Your Values
Fair wages
 2 retirement plans (ESOP, matching
 Excellent medical and other benefits
 Bonus to all employees in “good years”
 Excellent stock value growth
3. Be True to Your Values
ESOPs are better for customers,
 Tax law and structure make ESOPs
 Culture makes performance happen
 Top leaders must develop, feed and care
for ownership culture

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