STEP FOUR:

Project Equity’s Thrive program

Helping employee-owned businesses thrive post transition

Project Equity’s Thrive program serves businesses after their transition to employee ownership. For newly-transitioned companies, it is typically a two-year program that focuses on helping to ensure that both the company—in its new employee-owned form—and its employee-owners thrive.

The deep benefits of employee ownership come to life through a combination of structure (ownership by employees) and culture. Marrying the two effectively, and ensuring training, systems and processes, and leadership and management capacity are in place to support a thriving ownership culture are the primary goals of our engagement with employee-owned companies in our Thrive program. 

“Underlying all of our work and our pursuit of employee ownership, we believe that if the business is owned by its employees, we’re also on a path to more to a more resilient business.”

Stacey Smith, Director of Client Services

Setting the stage for success

Ensuring a clear understanding by employee-owners that they benefit when the business performs well is central at this stage. “Overall communication, ongoing engagement and focused capacity building all affect the development of ownership culture, including building people’s skills and abilities and the internal processes to enable some level of participatory decision making,” explains Stacey Smith, Director of Client Services at Project Equity.

“We prepare everyone so they’re all looking at the same thing. They’re all looking at the future,” summarized Patty Viáfara, Senior Client Services and Regional Partnerships Manager at Project Equity.

The process is different for every company

While the Thrive program is designed to last for approximately two years for recently transitioned companies, the actual duration depends on the specific needs of the business after its transition to employee ownership. If a company already has strong systems of communication in place, it could move through the process more quickly, or choose to spend the time to go deeper on other elements of ownership culture.

As Viáfara explained, “It seems simple, but developing communication guidelines help the different employee-owners connect with each other about how the company’s doing, what direction they want to go in and when to roll out a formal process.”

Key concepts covered in the Thrive program include:

    • Practicing participatory management
    • Crafting participatory decision making
    • Organizing ways to share key business information
    • Developing an understanding of important data
    • Growing business literacy
    • Analyzing business performance

 

Key concepts covered in the Thrive program include:

    • Practicing participatory management
    • Crafting participatory decision making
    • Organizing ways to share key business information
    • Developing an understanding of important data
    • Growing business literacy
    • Analyzing business performance

 

What do businesses take away from the Thrive program?

By the end of the process, Project Equity will have supported the business to build vital structures for decision-making, information-sharing and accountability that helps the broad base of employee-owners have the knowledge, information and understanding needed to participate appropriately in their ownership roles.

After transitioning to an employee-owned company in mid-2019, California Solar Electric Company in Grass Valley, California began the final stage of engagement with Project Equity through its Thrive program. During this program, Project Equity provided ongoing support to business leadership and the new employee-owners by implementing a training and support program that built ownership culture and helped the business and its owners thrive. See their story here.

“Underlying all of our work and our pursuit of employee ownership, we believe that if the business is owned by its employees, we’re also on a path to more to a more resilient business, to a business that’s more likely to grow at a higher rate than its peers, and one that offers very high quality jobs,” shares Smith. 

Additional resources provided to worker cooperatives

Building governing capacity

    • How does governance work on a day-to-day basis?
    • What are the processes that need to be in place to support good governance and appropriate information sharing?
    • How do new managers adjust in their roles?
    • How does the role of the former owner change if s/he stays on?
    • How does the path to highly participatory decision making unfold, and what are the appropriate steps along that path?

Effective Board management

    • Running efficient meetings
    • Identifying and electing members  

Providing financial oversight

    • Reviewing historical knowledge
    • Effective budget development

 

Additional resources provided to worker cooperatives

Building governing capacity

    • How does governance work on a day-to-day basis?
    • What are the processes that need to be in place to support good governance and appropriate information sharing?
    • How do new managers adjust in their roles?
    • How does the role of the former owner change if s/he stays on?
    • How does the path to highly participatory decision making unfold, and what are the appropriate steps along that path?

Effective Board management

    • Running efficient meetings
    • Identifying and electing members  

Providing financial oversight

    • Reviewing historical knowledge
    • Effective budget development

 

How it works

Understand the steps to transition your business

Learn from others

See how others transitioned and how the financing worked

How Project Equity can help

Schedule a free consultation

LEARN MORE

about employee ownership

Employee Ownership options


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