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A hotel where workers are the owners

Posting in Education

Being your own boss is usually reserved for CEOs, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. But at a hotel in Cambodia, it's the workers who are their own boss.

That's right, the receptionists, the cleaners, the food workers -- all of the 29 full-time employees, in fact -- are part owners of the Soria Moria hotel in Siem Reap near the Angkor Wat temple complex, the popular tourist destination.

As NPR reports, the idea came about when the Norwegian founders of the hotel were looking to sell it and move back home, but they wanted to make sure the workers were treated fair in their absence. Here's how the model works:

[The hotel's founders] formed a new company on behalf of the employees, the Soria Moria Educational Development Program. Then they essentially gave that company 51 percent ownership in the hotel. Employees earn shares in the new company based on a formula.

Full-time employees earn 1 ownership point for every dollar's worth of salary they make. They earn 2 ownership points for each month they work at the hotel. Managers also get bonus points.

That means a room cleaner who has worked at the Soria Moria for years could accumulate as many ownership points as a supervisor who has worked at the hotel for a shorter time. All the employees elect the board of directors, which in turn appoints the top managers.

The owners all get paid more than average Cambodian wages and since they're all owners they get to share profits. Last spring that meant one to three months worth of extra income.

It's a fascinating model because it not only gives workers a real sense of ownership, but it ensures that local workers benefit directly from the booming tourism economy.

Read more: NPR

Photo: Flickr/Agent Davidov

— By on July 8, 2013, 11:41 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure