Managing Employee-Shareholders Before, During, and After an Interstate Company Relocation

The Challenge and the Opportunity

 

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 1000+ 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 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. 

 

 

The Solutions

 

Many kinds of content were developed, in multiple formats:

 

  • Survey to understand employee-shareholder priorities and concerns

 

  • Print collateral to explain the process and the rationale

 

  • A website to access 24/7 information, photos, and drawings on:

 

    • Purge and pack schedule
    • Move out/move in timetable and instructions
    • Building construction as it progressed
    • The new, modern workspaces
    • How to submit questions, suggestions, and concerns

 

  • Digital and print updates on options and amenities - 

 

    • Transportation, parking, and carpooling
    • Restaurants and markets
    • Health care, hospitals
    • Libraries, civic resources, entertainment

The Outcomes

 

  • A workforce that said, when surveyed after the move, that their transition had been successful
  • A publishing schedule that was not interrupted by the move
  • Enough communication that all stakeholders could see that their priorities had been considered and were implemented where possible