Marketing Excellence Awards: The Game of ESOP

Sep 16, 2015

4. Harris & AssociatesHarris & Associates (Concord, CA), a 200-person engineering and construction management firm, is the fourth place winner in the Internal Marketing category of Zweig Group’s 2015 Marketing Excellence Awards for its ownership campaign and the Game of ESOP. In August 2012 leadership at Harris transitioned ownership of the company by purchasing shares from existing shareholders and converting to a 100 percent employee stock ownership plan S-corporation, securing a financially stable future for Harris. In 2014, Harris’ leadership became aware that many of the new employee-owners were uninformed of the requirements to enter the ESOP or how the ESOP functioned. Most importantly, the leadership wanted to emphasize the concept of ownership. They realized ownership was rarely mentioned in internal communications and there had been no communications on how employee-owners and company actions correlated to share price. The leadership, ESOP committee, and marketing and communications team joined forces to find a solution. Research revealed that interactive and personalized approaches to the ESOP worked best. Thus, at the center of the campaign was a hands-on educational game – the Game of ESOP – designed in-house and customized to Harris’ culture. The game board evokes a construction and engineering theme – with miniature Harris pickup trucks for pawns. Harris leadership traveled to various company offices where employee-owners played the game in meetings and discussed the ESOP at Harris. Employee-owners were able to engage with one another, while learning about the ESOP and what it means to be an owner. Testimonials from employee-owners show how much they learned about the ESOP and the spirit of ownership. Q&A sessions lasted 30 minutes to an hour after the game. Many employee-owners commented that they didn’t realize how their actions affected the share price. More than half of the firm was successfully engaged, with 56.8 percent of employee-owners participating in the game. For more info on the Marketing Excellence Awards click here. The 2016 Marketing Excellence Awards are open for registration! Click here to register your firm.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.