1 Chapter 1. Employee Stock Options In this lesson, you will learn the basic definition of employee stock options and be introduced to alternative stock ownership incentives. Everybody Wants Stock Options Employee stock options are one of the most popular employee benefits available because they give workers a chance to participate in the success of the company. Employers like them because they are a way to provide noncash compensation. Stock options were once limited to only the top man- agement ranks, but that is rapidly changing thanks to a booming stock market and economy that make it difficult to attract and retain skilled employees. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, 7 million to 10 million people in the United States receive stock options, and it is believed that estimate is conservative.