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Wired for Success: Customer Satisfaction and Employee Ownership

July 7, 2015

IEWC has enjoyed over 50 years of nearly continuous revenue growth and excellence in Customer Satisfaction. These measures are by their nature inextricably linked; one is not likely to exist without the other. It strikes me more every day that both the measures so core to our success are enjoying the benefit of a major element of our culture, Employee Ownership.

Employee Ownership is hardly a concept unique to the wire and cable industry. In fact, there are nearly 7,000 ESOPs in various forms in the US with over 10,000,000 participants in almost every business segment of the economy. Employee owned companies are heavily represented in the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For and as a whole outperform their competitors in both revenue growth and the return on capital.

Four years ago when I joined IEWC, a big part of the career attraction was related to the obvious energy and engagement of employee owners taking part in the interview process. IEWC measures Employee Engagement and Enablement every two years and has consistently scored well above the norm in businesses within the industry and well above the norm for companies recognized for exceptional engagement in all forms of commerce. This is not a measure of employee satisfaction, a far more passive view of contentment. In fact our people tend to be highly critical of management and processes that are seen as getting in the way of excellent customer service or leading to mediocre financial performance.

Employee Ownership at IEWC is at the core of these attitudes. We are employing our US employee’s money as well as their talents and share of mind in running the business. The benefits of being a participant in the ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) are tangible, both easily measurable and real. I suspect for many folks that their portion of the value of the Company is the single largest asset that they hold and one that is both personally rewarding and at risk. That is not something that you take lightly and translates into passion for your job and the success of the enterprise.

I am writing this article just ahead of the most American of events, Independence Day, the 4th of July. What better form of the American ideal of capitalism can there be than an Employee Owned business, where the true benefits of hard work and risk-taking can be experienced every day in winning customer loyalty and converting it to commercial success. It’s all earned, never gifted, right here at IEWC.

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