Eileen Fisher wants employees to feel like they have a real stake in her company.
The eco-conscious fashion mogul recently talked to CNN about how she implemented an employee stock ownership plan in which all 1,200 full- and part-time employees receive a stake in the company. While Fisher owns 60 percent of her company, her hires hold the remaining 40 percent.
Fisher started her brand — known for simple, clean styles — in 1984 with $350 and saw it balloon to its current valuation of $400 million. She said the stock option program was a no-brainer and she urged other companies to do the same.
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“Once we started having extra profit, the first thought was share it with all the employees,” Fisher said on CNN’s Boss Files podcast. “They do all the work, it’s only fair to share, which I think all companies should have to do.”
Employees, who also receive an annual profit-sharing bonus, can exchange their shares for cash upon retiring or leaving the company.
“I think even 10 percent of the profits is good for morale and for people feeling like they’re really a part of this company,” she added. “People speak up more when they see things that don’t feel right or if people are wasting money.”