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friesens outside with table
Employee-Ownership Trust cheque distribution

Why Employee-Ownership Matters

As an employee-owned company, we have the freedom to prioritize our values ahead of profit and we are influenced by our customers and our fellow employee-owners instead of outside shareholders.  While profits matter, we have the ability to emphasize other values as well, like social and environmental responsibility, community support, and the wellness and satisfaction of employee-owners.

Our ownership structure is sustainable and ensures that so long as the business remains successful, our values will continue to benefit stakeholders. Employee-ownership is about more than just sharing profits. It is a mindset, an attitude that if we think and act like owners, we will outperform other companies where employees don’t share in the success of the business.

“It’s What Makes the Friesens Story Special.”

This is what CEO Chad Friesen says about employee-ownership.  How it works is pretty simple; the only thing one has to do to become a beneficiary of the employee trust is to be a full- or part-time employee of Friesens.  Chad says, “Yes, it feels awesome to hand out cheques.  But ultimately, you want people to be a part of the whole story, and I have pride telling people how this company started, how we’re owned, and how that benefits the lives of the people who work here.”

Employee-ownership at Friesens translates into many things, such as maintaining a reputation of high standards, manufacturing superior quality products and being part of a team that is proud of what the company has accomplished over its long rich history. You’ll also hear many employees say that it feels like they are part of a big family; a family that looks out for each other and sticks together through the good and bad times.

friesens employees together
CEO Chad Friesen chatting with fellow Employee-Owners

The Employee-Owner Experience

Most people think of an employee-owner as someone who buys shares in a company and the shares are held in a trust for the long-term benefit of the employees. It’s easy to come up with all the formal terminology and legal jargon, but what does it really mean to work for a company as an employee-owner?

Employee-owner since 2016 Elsie Bogaert echoes that sentiment. “I believe it inspires and motivates us to do our best. The greater the success of the company, the more we, as employee-owners, benefit from that success, which in turn encourages us to try harder. It also instills in us a sense of pride when we do succeed, which makes each employee-owner feel good and again translates into wanting to do our best. It’s almost like a never-ending circle of success between the company, and the employees.”


Workers and owners

Since Employee-ownership has a lot of different components, it means so many things to those who are workers and owners! For some it’s about “giving back,” to each other and to the community. For others, a chance to carve out a career path of their choosing. And finally, we can see a common thread among employee-owners whether they’ve worked for 2 years or 30 years: there’s a sense of belonging and feeling that we are part of a large family. These are important factors in an employee-owner’s experience that spells success!

According to employee-owners Albert and Jonie Sta. Maria, who have been with Friesens since 2018, “It’s the way the company makes you feel and being treated fairly. Your location and job title does not matter, you’re an employee-owner so your job is to do your best, regardless of your position, in order to make your company more successful. I love that it feels like we’re family working together while supporting each other.”