What's Your Ownership Worth? Check The Scoreboard -- Forbes

Last month, the Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B announced that it would be giving about 15% of the company’s stock over time to some 55,000 employees. The Dallas Morning News estimates that the shares are worth more than $1 billion.

H-E-B’s move reflects a growing interest in giving employees a stake in the business. Many public corporations offer broad-based option grants or share purchase programs. Several thousand US companies have employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), with some ESOPs holding 100% of the shares.

The challenge for these companies, of course, is to make the ownership stake feel real. A few shares in a retirement account or fat option grants that are quickly cashed out won’t be enough to make people think and act like owners. And since ESOPs are government-regulated trusts run by a trustee, employees may not feel like true owners even when the plan holds a controlling interest in the company.

Clay Blevins, president and principal owner of a company called Comfort Supply, has come up with what we think is a unique solution to this problem.

Comfort Supply is a Tennessee-based supplier of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning equipment, and in 2013 was named one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. In late 2014, Blevins created an ESOP so that his employees would have an ownership stake.

To read the Bill Fotsch and John Case article in its entirety, please visit Forbes.com