The bold bet of Effenti with its employees-shareholders

Effenti, a company specializing in the consulting and development of web and mobile applications, wants to revolutionize the world of information technology (IT) by making it more human. To achieve this, the boss Stéphane Bernier and his partner Valérie Marier decided to involve their employees by selling them shares of the company.
S téphane Bernier Effenti created in 1997. For ten years, he caresses the idea to ask its employees to become shareholders. “I have never felt like the big boss, I have the majority, but I have always wanted an ecosystem and not a managerial structure,” he says.

“Until now, I had never had the opportunity to do it, but the market where we go, we are there. Capitalism is changing little by little. I think employees need to have a part of the business for the future and meet global demand, “he continues.

Effenti is positioning itself as a hybrid, liberated and responsible company. Three months ago, Stéphane Bernier and Valérie Marier decided to take action. “The Effenti model is really based on employee empowerment, trust, transparency. It was natural to give the company back to the artisans. In the environment in which we are, it is they who have the knowledge of computers. The company exists because they are there and they believe in Effenti’s mission, which is to make IT more humane, “insists Valérie Marier.

Of the fifty employees, a dozen became shareholders. “We aim for everyone to have a stake in the company, but we do not force anyone. Some are immigrants and have just arrived in Quebec, others have a student debt to repay, but whether you are a shareholder or employee, everyone is treated the same way. We are a tight woven family. Several told us that they were going to embark a little later, “says Valérie Marier.

Attract and retain the best talent

Like all IT companies, Effenti is affected by the labor shortage. Involving employees in the company is a good way to attract them and especially to retain them.

“It’s a way of integrating me. We really belong to something. We do not come here just to work, but to contribute. It gives you a different knowledge, “says Maidelys Machado Diaz, one of the company’s new shareholders.

“Becoming a shareholder does not really impact the work, but everything that Effenti does around it. […] Becoming a shareholder is a consequence of the corporate culture. The level of responsibility and commitment was already there. This is the logical consequence, “thinks Glory Lomani.

Indeed, Effenti has always put the employee at the heart of his decisions. A vision increasingly sought after by millennials who want to feel involved in the company for which they work.

“When we explain that to people we want to recruit, they are surprised, but very interested. All employees are invited to participate in decisions. The fact that we involve them, that leads them to be the change. We give the figures, we explain everything, “says Ms. Marier.

And if ever a new shareholder took the big head, Stéphane Bernier will quickly put it in its place. “I would have a discussion with the person. I’m not like that, so there is no one here who will be, “he says.

“It’s not because I became a shareholder that I tell myself, I have to invest, then I will make money. For me, it’s more of a symbol. I have more the feeling, it is my gang and we will do it in gang, assures Jean-François Boily.

Inspire a change

After more than 20 years running his business, Stéphane Bernier could have sold it and reaped the fruits of his labor. “We had offers to buy us, but we preferred to share,” reveals his partner for ten years Valerie Marier.

The majority of companies still have a traditional management style with the illusion that employees find themselves lucky to work for a company that has a name. But in reality, people work to support themselves and for a sense of accomplishment. “We want to change the old models. Our competitors find it flipped. In order to do this, management must be there mentally. You must forget your ego. It bothers them, but we intrigue them too. We want to create a reflection at home, “judge Ms. Marier.

Could the model put in place by Effenti become normality in all companies in the future? Mr. Bernier hopes so, he also gives lectures on the liberated and responsible company, the leadership and the management of today, and on the recruitment and the code Effenti. “We are doing a revolution of entrepreneurship. We are in front of the parade. It’s going to be better for businesses and the world around. “

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