Here's Why You'll Wish You Were a Chobani Employee

Meghan Rooney

While Chobani’s Greek yogurt is good (arguably the best), the morale at the company’s headquarters in Upstate New York is likely even better, and The New York Times shared the details of the surprising, yet very sweet, reason. Earlier this week it was announced that all 2000 full-time employees were granted ownership stake in the company, which is an extremely rare scenario for the food industry.

In 2005, Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant, founded Chobani with an $800,000 loan acquired from the Small Business Administration. Over 10 years later, he has grown the yogurt purveyor into an empire worth several billion dollars, so an owning stake in the company is extremely valuable. Employees’ shares were granted based on tenure, with the company’s longest-standing employees receiving the largest stakes; some of the earliest workers’ shares could be worth over $1 million pending updated valuations of Chobani.

The noteworthiest aspect of the headline-grabbing story is undoubtedly Ulukaya’s reasoning for handing over the shares to employees and thereby diluting his ownership. He explained that his mission is to share the wealth, which they helped create, while giving them the opportunity to build their own futures at the same time. In an interview tied to the announcement, he said, “I’ve built something I never thought would be such a success, but I cannot think of Chobani being built without all these people.”

Watch below as Ulukaya announces the news to the 2000 employees. Warning: It may make you cry.

Do you think more companies should be sharing the wealth with their employees? If your company decides to do so, be prepared and read up on making smart investments with the book The Most Important Thing.

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