Another way Apple rewarded employee stakeholders was through stock options and stock discount programs.
The stock option grant, popular and widely used in the United States and elsewhere, allows an employee to buy a certain number of shares in the company at an attractive price. When employees are shareholders, they benefit when the stock goes up, which obviously gives them a financial incentive for seeing the company be successful.
One of the unique stock option programs in industry is offered by coffee retailer Starbucks, which I’ve mentioned earlier for its dedication to its customers. Starbucks emphasizes the relationship between store employees and customers by calling its employees partners. The stock option program for Starbucks also includes part-time employees, a unique feature. The company believes its success is directly tied to the respect it shows partners on a daily basis. I have to admit that after going to a Starbucks in my neighborhood a few times, I was surprised to get the welcome, “Hello, Jay, what do you want today?” Very Apple store-like.
The Starbucks Direct Purchase Plan allows employees to buy shares at a discount, with deductions out of their pay or tax-qualified plans.
In contrast, when I started my employment at IBM in 1970, IBM stock was at $440 a share and with my small starting salary, I could only buy two shares a year. Not much incentive there.