Starting a co-op is challenging and fun. It requires thinking differently about organizational structure and finances. Some of our favorite businesses are employee-owned and operated:
- PCC Markets
- Equal Exchange
We know the model works for building equity. Can it contribute to worker growth as well? With the right organizational structure, you can both build equity in the company and directly contribute to business decisions. Even mainstream business culture is taking heed. According to Fast Company,
“While employee-owned cooperatives are still a very underrepresented model of workplace organization, they deliver well-documented benefits to the businesses and employees they govern. According to the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), a nonprofit that supports the development of worker co-ops, employee-owned small businesses see an average of 4% to 5% higher productivity levels and more stability and potential for growth. In contrast to traditional businesses, worker co-ops see much lower rates of employee turnover and business closure. They’re also known to boost both profits and worker wages. Because the people doing the work for the company are also the ones who own the company, they feel a greater sense of responsibility for and personal stake in helping the business succeed.”
What better way to help workers advance their careers and incomes than to share responsibility in the entire business? That type of thinking carries forward to other work and, hopefully, enables more workers to start their own businesses.