What’s the best way to combat wealth inequality, increase employee engagement and boost profits? Give workers an ownership stake, says Pete Stavros, co-head of US private equity at KKR & Co. Stavros recently started a nonprofit called Ownership Works to assist companies in creating employee equity plans, which he says help focus workers on a common mission. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Why is it important to get employees in on the action?
First, it builds wealth in the bottom of the economy. Two, it addresses racial and gender inequities, because pushing ownership broadly and deeply benefits people of color and women. Third, the government estimates that 60% to 65% of Americans are financially illiterate, so owning stock gives people a real opportunity to learn how money works.