IT company EASI welcomes 51 new shareholders. Today EASI employs 305 people, 105 of whom are shareholders. This means that 34% or 1 in 3 employees at EASI own shares in the company.
An impressive number, certainly compared to the only two Belgian listed companies for which we have official figures regarding employee shareholdership. At Colruyt, for example, 15% of the personnel hold shares, at AB Inbev this is only 1.4%. With barely 42,380 employee-shareholders, it is striking that very few Belgian companies offer this opportunity to their employees. Compared to France, where there are almost 3 million employee-shareholders, and Great Britain with almost 2 million employee-shareholders, the difference is huge.
Geert Janssens, chief economist at Etion and authority on employee shareholdership further explains the success of EASI. "The model of employee participation as implemented by EASI contains all the necessary facets to make it a success. Obviously, there is a shared property through shareholdership, albeit supplemented by an annual collective bonus for all employees. Then there are shared values and a common culture that enable employees to connect their personal goals with those of the company. Finally, there is the element of efficiency: at EASI, employees know how to achieve their goals. Because group interest always takes precedence over individual interest, they also usually succeed very well in achieving them effectively."
Founder becomes minority shareholder
In total, founder Salvatore Curaba will sell 20% of his shares. He will still retain 41% of the shares, but he will become a minority shareholder as a result. Sharing is so deeply rooted in EASI's DNA that it is a direct cause of our success, says CEO Thomas Van Eeckhout. "Salvatore Curaba who co-founded EASI, started selling his shares in 2011. It turned out to be the move that took us off the ground. He taught everyone to trust in others and also to share power. Today, we only notice the benefits of that decision. The shareholdership model not only ensures stability and continuity in our company. It motivates us all to grow. The company performs better and the model allows us to share the profits with our employees. It therefore makes sense that the company does not belong to one key person and that our success does not depend on single individuals."
The shareholdership model at EASI, allows the company to grow in a sustainable and profitable way. Each shareholder represents a new locomotive driving our growth, but above all it allows employees to realize their dreams. With a turnover rate of 3% and with only 1% absenteeism, we find that our model offers stability for both our employees and our customers.
Employee shareholdership is on the rise. "We are noticing growing interest in our model," says CEO Jean-François Herremans. "This model can also help avoid tech companies being systematically bought off by large international players." EASI is convinced that this is the model of the future and that it can also help other companies looking for sustainable growth. Young people today are also not looking for a regular job. They want to be part of an adventure. Becoming a co-owner of a successful, growing company gives them that perspective, and it allows EASI to arm itself in the battle for talent."