Posted by: healingtheworkplace | January 26, 2011

Employee Ownership Works

Healing our troubled workplaces can occur on many levels and in many different ways. Some workplaces are on life support and need resuscitation in order to survive. This was the case with Harmac Mills in Nanaimo British Columbia.

I wrote about Harmac in an earlier post so I thought I’d give you an update as there was an article in the January 18 – 24, 2011 edition of Business in Vancouver.

 The article featured Levi Sampson who was the person responsible for  rescuing Harmac Mills from a certain death.  Levi committed his own funds, two other investors got on board and Harmac employees each put $25,000 into the pot.

Today Harmac is a success story and is financially sound while other pulp mills in B.C. struggle.

 What’s Levi’s secret?

 His belief in the employees and in the concept of employee ownership.

Here’s what Levi has to say,

 “With an employee-owned model you have a situation where if something needs to be done over lunch or after work a supervisor doesn’t have to ask a guy or a group of guys. It just gets done because they own a piece of the company.”

And this is a union shop too!

 Levi Sampson’s mission in life is to,

 “Convince the business world the employee-ownership model works.”

 In reading the article in Business in Vancouver I thought about the other benefits of employee-ownership:

  •  Shared leadership
  • Respect in the workplace
  • Collaboration
  • Teamwork
  • Continuous quality improvement
  • A learning organization
  • A productive workplace


Talk soon, Lesley



  1. An example to follow, I’d say. When replacing the machines or introducing new equipments can increase the productivity per annum, many organization go for man-power cut. Well it works but only for a certain timeline. Great examples are rare yet they becomes history…

  2. The listed benefits at the end of the article are more than convincing for a decision maker to take exemplary initiatives like Harmac. I feel 2 other important benefits:
    1) Motivation
    2) Better contribution
    Definitely there are lots of other advantages that will come is existence through the time.

    • Hi Razibul, do you know of any other examples?

  3. Hey Lesley,
    Not sure whether I should point out other benefits or should I criticize the existing ownership model exercised in maximum organizations. Organizations want employees to take ownership of his/her job role so that the employee effectively carries out the duties. But in terms of real ownership( profit share) they show zero interest. Bottom line is, the word ownership has become a corporate buzzword with no effectiveness.

    Razibul Hassan

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