In the early 21st century, the nation’s oldest employee-owned corporation had to navigate many challenges.
- Market changes: the internet and wide access to the personal computer, which reshaped its industry – the news and information business
- Rising cost of operations in the fast-gentrifying nation’s capital
- A workforce of employee-owners, many of whom had invested their life savings in the company
- Skyrocketing costs of healthcare for an aging workforce
- A restive labor union representing non-management workers
Yet the company was run by people who had risen through the ranks and were themselves, heavily-invested employee-owners. To the extent possible, everyone was in the same boat.
The board decided that the company needed to relocate to remain profitable and growing.
This meant coordinating the flow of information to the 100+ employee-owners who would be moved to three different locations.
Another challenge and the big opportunity were to reveal the full rationale for the move and pull back the curtain on the strategy that got an extraordinary deal. Employee-shareholders got all the possible amenities they cared about. The way information was handled before, during, and after the announcement – and after the move – made for the smoothest possible transition.