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Should Public Companies Offer Employee Stock Options?

If you owned stock in the company you worked for, would you care more? That’s one of the ideas behind employee stock options. Several big corporations, such as Publix, allow employees to become shareholders, increasing their engagement and stake in the organization. On this Millennial Minute debate, host David Grasso chats with op-ed tech columnist Emil Skandul and financial advisor at Payne Capital Management Aaron Dessen. They discuss the pros and cons of employee stock options, worker co-ops and capitalism. 

The pros of employee stock options

Tesla has been booming lately, and they are one of the big corporations that provide stock options to employees. Dessen says many higher-up Tesla engineers have become millionaires on paper because of their shares. One pro of this is that these employees will most likely stay in the organization, leading to a lower turnover rate. Skandul adds that these stock options increase worker productivity and improve workplace culture. Workers have better output when they have a personal investment in the company. He believes that employee stock options should be optional instead of a requirement.

Capitalism and worker co-ops

A broader conversation around employee stock is capitalism. Dessen believes that offering equity shares to employees can cast a more positive light on capitalism and show that it does benefit workers. Skandul agrees to an extent that capitalism is not all bad and has created many improvements in society. He doesn’t go so far as to say capitalism should be overturned by socialism. But he believes we should reform capitalism with programs such as worker co-ops, where workers “participate in the profits, oversight and often management of the enterprise.” He believes that this could take the idea of employee stock options to the next level. What do you think? Do you wish your employer offered you a stake?

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