Lifes Abundance content relating to 'employee-owned business'

What It Means To Be An Employee Owned Company

ESOP spirit week

Since 2012, Life’s Abundance has been a 100% employee-owned company. Our purpose is to empower people and their pets to live healthier and happier lives. From the beginning, we have always put people first, and this includes our employees! We believe our team members have a lot to give, so they should benefit from all their hard work and share in our growth and success.

What is ESOP?

Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP, is a special type of employee benefit plan that allows workers to have shares within the company. How amazing is that? This means employees are stakeholders in the truest sense. That means everyone - from each warehouse team member to customer service to our executives- owns a portion of the company.

The decision to make Life’s Abundance a 100% employee-owned company originated from a discussion regarding exit strategies as the ownerships looked to retirement. Lester and the leadership team made preserving the mission and purpose of the company a priority, which could be hard to maintain during ownership changes. So, Lester proposed an ESOP which everyone, including the company owners, could see would protect the company culture, mission, and team members. It was an all-around great decision that was approved wholeheartedly.

How does it benefit consumers?

When employee owners have a stake in the company, you can feel it! Just call our Customer Care team or speak to anyone within the company, and you’ll realize you aren’t just speaking to just another employee. You’re speaking to an owner! It’s simple - owners make better employees. This ensures that you are receiving top-notch customer service all around from people who really care about serving you in the best way possible. As employee owners, we aim to lead with purpose and grow at a controlled pace. This allows us to put our full heart and attention into new projects that will ultimately make your experience with us unforgettable.

How does it benefit employees?

ESOP benefits all parties involved. Financially, we are better prepared for our future as ESOP is a retirement plan. Since we are vested owners, we are empowered to work more creatively. We find ways to better our performance and grow within the company. In turn, with our hard work and amazing results, the company’s performance improves and increases the value of the stock. It’s a win-win!

spirit week

Employee ownership is fun!

Employee Ownership Month is celebrated every October, and we were able to have a super exciting ESOP Spirit Week, virtually of course. Each day, we did an activity that was either educational or just plain fun. Here’s a recap of how we celebrate being employee owned:

On Monday, we embraced our employee ownership by taking a photo of ourselves with a sign saying “I’m an employee owner.” Some departments went all out with their signs for added team spirit!

Tuesday, we were placed into random teams for a crossword puzzle competition that tests our knowledge on ESOP. The first team that completed the puzzle and sent it back to Human Resources received a sweet prize.

Wednesday was pajama day! As an employee-owned company, you can both see AND feel the difference in our team. We’re a tight knit group and loved showing up to our company-wide morning meeting dressed from head to toe in our comfiest pajamas, slippers and all.

As employee owners, everyone in the company has different roles and responsibilities, but we all work together in creating something great! That’s why Thursday was named crayon box day and each department was given a color to rock for the day. Even our CEO wore a tie-dye shirt since he brings each and every department together.

On Friday, we stopped by the virtual lunchroom and put our knowledge to the test. We played an ESOP trivia game with, once again, prizes for the winning team!

Employee ownership is fun, profitable and empowering for everyone we touch. It makes a big difference in the way we show up for each other and customers every single day. For Life’s Abundance, all of this energy and passion stems from the purpose we all share - to empower people and pets to live happier, healthier lives. From all of the employee-owners, thank you for your business.

Forget Resolutions, Try Intentions

Jessica-Vogelsang-and-brody
Photo by Tamandra Michaels, Heart Dog Studio

Do you set New Year’s Resolutions? I used to, back when I thought I could keep them for more than two weeks. Over the years I’ve learned that the exercise resolutions always wavered, the commitment to less chocolate died when Valentine’s Day arrived, and I wound up more irritated than inspired. 

But maybe I’m just using the wrong word. “Resolution” seems so rigid ... you either do it or you don't. Each day is part of a journey rather than a destination in and of itself. I’ve done much better when I use the word “intention” instead. Rather than a number on the scale or on a clothing tag, I focus on habits and actions. If I have a bad day where I don’t live up to that intention, so be it. There’s always tomorrow.

I’ve found the most successful intentions come by building on something you already believe in and want to take to the next level. This applies not only to our physical health, but our work in life. In the last couple of months, I’ve had some great conversations with the Life’s Abundance team about personal success, and I want to share my intention with you in the hopes that you, too, will choose to embrace it.

My intention for 2019 is to focus on the “why” versus the “what.” Many of our readers are Field Reps and we are all here as a part of the Life’s Abundance family, sharing a common interest in premium products. But what is it that truly sets us apart from other companies?

For me, it’s the people.

I have worked with a lot of different pet-product companies over the years, and despite what we sometimes read, the vast majority of people who work in the industry do care about animals and try to do the right thing. This isn’t about ‘good’ people versus ‘bad’ people. But how many of them truly view their co-workers as family?

People who work at jobs may work hard, may put in great efforts, and be committed to excellence in what they do. But people who view their co-workers as family? There’s something very special about that kind of relationship. They go the extra mile without being asked, without having any incentive other than this is what you do. When you view those people around you as extended family, there’s never any question as to what motivates them ... it all boils down to the long-term well-being of everyone around them. It's much easier to trust a company when you believe not just in the product line, but the people behind the formulas.

As far as pet foods go, I think we’re going to see a lot of discussion about quality assurances this year. 2018 was a bumpy year for many in the pet food industry, and we’re seeing more about what happens when rigorous quality control isn’t in place. Today's savvy consumers are looking beyond just the ingredient list. They want to know, "What are you doing to ensure the bag contains what you say it does, is this the best version of this recipe, and can we trust what you are doing?"

You can’t underestimate the power of nearly 20 years of continuity and consistency in not only a product, but in a team. Most of the Life’s Abundance executive team has been here from the start. I am fortunate to be beginning my third year, and each year my respect continues to grow for the mission, purpose and team. It’s a group that does the right thing even when no one is looking, even when there might be an easier or cheaper option. When people ask why I choose to work with this team and this company, that is my "why."

You all have your own why, your own story to tell. When I meet Field Reps, I can hear in your voices as you talk about your Australian Shepherds, or show me pictures of your Persians, that you aren’t here because you’re doing a job. You’re here because you know you’re part of a family. A family takes care of each other. Your work is a reflection of your values and the choices you make. So as you move into 2019 and plan ahead, don’t forget to share your unique purpose that brought you here. And if you've always thought about becoming a Life's Abundance Field Rep but haven't committed, we invite you to visit our opportunity page today.

Here’s to a wonderful year for everyone!

Dr V
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM