“The risks are multiple and often ignored in small businesses exposed to the vagaries of the economy”

IDoes the sharing of value in the company really have to go through employee share ownership? The recent value sharing bill, established with the social partners, makes it a cornerstone. Mechanisms for participation and sharing of value will indeed aim to be democratized in companies with fewer than fifty employees.

Employee shareholding in large groups can be a useful tool for stabilizing control, allowing a strategy to be pursued over a long period without having to fear a hostile public offer. It can also be a factor in employee loyalty in order to create a commitment to belonging to a company.

However, the risks are multiple and often overlooked when talking about employee share ownership. Particularly in small companies which may be exposed to the vagaries of the economic situation: the employee shareholder has invested his savings in his own company, and exposes himself to the risk of losing both his savings and his job if his employer enters into zone of turbulence (and, who wouldn’t have noticed, we are in a zone of turbulence!).

Even if there is the emblematic case of La Redoute, which, in 2014, called on its employees to turn the company around, there are still few cases where employee shareholders have received, nine years later, no less 100,000 euros per employee on average! However, what happened to those who did not wait for nine years? Are there risks of unfair treatment to be feared between a mechanism for sharing the added value ociated with employee shareholding and the salary, in the event of the resignation of the employee shareholder, for example?

Sharing a common vision

There is also a tendency to believe that employee shareholding would be made up of geneous identities and interests, but, in large groups, one can find ociations of employee shareholders who will have different ideologies determining their vote during the holding of the general meeting of shareholders.

Read the summary: Article reserved for our subscribers Incentive favors the sharing of value, but not always the purchasing power

This was the case at France Telecom, now Orange, on the amount of the dividend per share to be distributed, the dissension between employee shareholders then being able to neutralize their influence in the process of allocating the value created. The risk is then to have an employee shareholding divided, even captive (known as long-term!) more than active, in the process of sharing value.

But employee ownership can also contribute to sharing a common vision, as in employee cooperatives. If the value-sharing model is clearly determined by the legal status of the cooperative and participatory society (SCOP), we nevertheless observe a certain deviance in wanting to drastically select future investors who do not share the same values… at the risk of having no choice but to finance oneself solely through subordinated loans, with rates that continue to rise. ‘increase.

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