Unlock the competitive advantages of employee ownership.

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Setting a standard to increase visibility

We believe in employee ownership because it changes the relationship between the company and the employee. Employee-owned companies help people build wealth, create a better working environment, and outperform their competition. That’s why we are building a future where a majority of American businesses are employee-owned. 

Our certification is increasing the visibility of employee ownership. We are the bridge between employee-owned companies and the community. We are helping employee-owners, job seekers, clients, consumers, and local governments understand the benefits of our movement. By raising the profile of our community, we are helping employee-owned companies succeed.









Creating trust through independent validation

Our certification is based on rigorous standards of significant and broad-based employee ownership. At an employee-owned company, reasonable access to ownership should be available to everyone and concentration should be limited. 

Without a standard, any company could call themselves employee-owned, from companies owned by founders and CEOs who consider themselves employees to public companies and private equity-owned firms that give workers small stock grants totaling one or two percent of the business. Those can be great things, but they are categorically different from broad-based employee ownership. The difference matters. 

History has shown that when a positive trend emerges, people rush to associate themselves with it, even if that association is a stretch. As the employee ownership movement grows, it’s important that we set a standard and hold the line to defend the goodwill generated by the actions of our community.

Want to learn more?

Explore how certification could help you share your ownership story.

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Amplifying the voice of our Members

If you want to go far, go together. Our certification unites all forms of employee ownership with a common voice. Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Worker Cooperatives, Employee Ownership Trusts, and companies coming up with new and innovative forms of employee ownership can all participate in our coordinated effort to promote the values that we share.

Working together to build a common brand will help us all standout a great employee-owned companies. Coordination is essential for breaking through the noise to share our story on the national stage. 

As one of the largest ESOP companies in the nation, WinCo Foods believes wholeheartedly in the benefits of employee ownership and we are 100% behind Certified EO and its mission.

Hank Fitchett

Executive Vice President

How to get certified

We verify your employee ownership and hit the ground running to help you share your ownership story.

1. Introduction

Explore how certification can benefit you with a short 20-minute conversation.

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2. Certification

Complete our certification questionnaire and provide relevant documentation. Our rigorous but efficient process takes roughly 1 - 2 hours.

3. Kickoff

Meet your dedicated contact and discuss how our expertise can be tailored to your needs. Gain access to our Member Platform for you and your team.

4. Ongoing

Position yourself within a broader community. Increase engagement and retention with our proven tools and playbook.

Does your business meet our standards?

  • Ownership: At least 30% of your company must be employee-owned (excluding founders).
  • Access: Every employee must have reasonable access to ownership.
  • Concentration: Employee-owned shares can’t be over-concentrated.

Just 1 in 200 American businesses qualify.

Ready to be Certified?

Is your business at least 30% employee-owned? Get certified and start reaping the benefits of a Certified Employee-Owned membership.

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