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PR Firm Uses ESOP to Reward Employees and Retain Talent

This previous ESOP News Feed video highlights the typical profile of a business owner who decides to implement an ESOP. The owners of Shift Communications  –a PR Firm with offices in Boston, New York and San Francisco – appear to fit right into that profile. As quoted in this article, some of the quotes from one of the owners, Todd Defren, are reflective of a great sense of gratitude toward employees, such as:

  • When Mr. Defren sought counsel from his spouse, his spouse said:  “You love these people. They work as hard as you. If the ESOP is a realistic option, why would you do anything else?”
  • When asked what his true motivations were for implementing an ESOP, Defren said:  "the huge majority was, ‘Is there a way to give back to the employees?'"

Mr. Defren also raved about how his employees, following implementation of the ESOP, began to think like owners with respect to Company expenses, epitomized by the following quote from Mr. Defren:

“I’m having 24-year-olds come up to me and say ‘I’m at some level an owner in this business.  I never use this service we spend thousands of dollars a year on – is there a reason why we are doing this?”

Finally, Mr. Defren also mentioned that he believed the ESOP would help keep his talented employees with the Company, which is of particular importance in a service industry like public relations. This is one of the reasons why ESOPs are increasingly popular in service industries, after many years of concentration in manufacturing.

About the Author

Timothy Stewart is an attorney practicing out of our metro Milwaukee office. He is a member of the Employee Benefits, ESOP and Labor & Employment Relations practice groups. Contact Tim by email or by phone at 262.754.2869.


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