The case for transparency on employee shareholder votes.
The idea came from early days of employee share ownership (Eso) when there was much enthusiasm for both employee financial and management participation; companies were listening to the employee voice, respecting the employer-employee relationship
In the 1980s the aim was to spread the word of employee share ownership. Now employee share plans have become part of the corporate background and the early messages have been lost along the way. Recently there have been questions about whether it is now time to re-think capitalism. Should we then, be thinking differently about Eso? How should we move the purpose of employee share ownership forward?
A forgotten benefit of employee share ownership plans is the vote. The problem is that the Esop vote in the register is a very small percentage, so employee shareholders do not have much say. Could we though listen to the employee vote as a separate category and feed the outcome back to the board to compare with votes over time and with institutional investor votes? This could be a source of participation and information for the company. In time, good practice would expand to public disclosure.
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