Our customers constantly tell us how impressed they are with our team: they can tell by the way employees answer the phone and how they behave that IT Freedom is a great place to work. We’ve always believed in the mantra “happy employees mean happy customers.” With our newly implemented ESOP program, we ensure our employees have a vested interested in the continued success and efficiency of our operations.
ESOP stands for Employee Stock Ownership Plan. IRS qualified ESOP is essentially a retirement account, functioning like a 401k, where instead of investing in other company stocks or bonds, employees get a stake in their own company.
Our President, Carey Jung, and Director of Finance, Carla Jung, are trustees, and beginning in 2014 they contributed 5% of the company stock to the trust, which is distributed amongst our employees. Our current goal is to eventually become 100% employee owned, with a target of 50% employee ownership in the next 5-10 years.
Everyone who participates in the ESOP program has a membership interest in the trust that’s prorated to his or her compensation. Employees have to be with IT Freedom for a full year before they can participate, and this was made retroactive for senior employees, so those who were already with our team became immediately invested.
The reason we started this is because Carey felt since he started that he wanted everyone who works for IT Freedom to behave and think like owners; taking responsibility, thinking in an entrepreneurial manner, and contributing to our overall success and growth. For Carey, as the owner, ESOP also provides a way to gradually divest 100% ownership and be able to diversify his holdings.
This is also a nonprofit entity, so everything that goes into it can be written off as an expense. Once we reach 100% employee ownership, the company will pay 0% federal tax. We also have an open book financial policy, so the staff can see what’s happening with the money they have an interest in.
Our employees, without exception, are very passionate about service, and they possess a strong sense of empathy for customers. With a greater stake in the company, we ensure our employees and customers are always happy. Essentially, everyone benefits.
To learn more about ESOP reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 351-4960.