I am a Harry Potter geek. I love all of it – the books, the movies and the theme park in Orlando. The book series made J. K. Rowling one of the best-selling fiction authors of all time. She introduced an entire generation of kids–that were more familiar with Facebook and video games than books– to the joy of reading (although, I did celebrate a bit when the books became available in an ebook format).
Rowling also created a shared experience. Kids, parents and grandparents were reading the books at the same time and discussing them. In fact, there was quite a debate at my house as to who was going to get to read the final book first.
Creating a shared experience is at the heart of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). An ESOP allows employees to earn an ownership interest in their company through a qualified retirement plan. Because it is a retirement plan, it must include virtually all full-time employees to pass coverage testing (similar to a 401(k) plan). As a result, senior executives, entry level employees and everyone in-between share ownership.