Talent Management: Employee Ownership as a Talent Management Tool

The Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange was envisioned as a tool to allow businesses with a capital base of between $50 million to $500 million to access low cost capital by selling no less than 20% of the business to the public, comprised of at least 25 shareholders. Launched in 2008, the Junior Market has allowed several companies to raise nearly J$1 billion in less than 18 months and created a resurgence in Employee Share Ownership Plans (ESOPs).

Of the six newly listed firms on the Junior Market, five have expressly set aside shares at a discounted price
for employees – Access Financial Services Limited, Blue Power Group Limited, Lasco Manufacturing Limited, Lasco Distributors Limited and Lasco Financial Services Limited. Cargo Handlers, a shipping firm based in Montego Bay listed 20% of the company at the end of November 2010 with 49% of that public listing earmarked for its employees.
The question at hand is whether the new ESOPs, or a variation of such, would be effective across all levels of employees or is it a tool that should be confined to upper levels of management? The case for and against companywide inclusion in a dedicated ESOP should be considered against the existing information on the
Junior Market, the Jamaican economy, and the industrial relations culture.

Bac kground
An employee share ownership plan (ESOP) is of course not a new phenomenon and has been a tool used by companies for nearly 200 years. The first recorded ESOP was developed in the United States in the late 19th century by newly emerging conglomerates such as railroad and retail companies as a way to provide a retirement plan for their employees...

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