Employees who are devoted to their tasks and projects are good. Employees who are devoted to the big picture and growing the company are better.
Creating a culture of responsibility is good. Creating a culture of ownership is better.
Employees who have an attitude of ownership don’t just work for the salary they are afforded. They work toward building a brand and a future that they can take pride in. These employees often have better attendance, take measures to improve themselves and communicate sooner about problems that could impact the company.
Fostering a culture where employees act like owners is challenging. It isn’t enough to just offer profit sharing or company stock. Here are some ideas to foster an ownership mentality in your employees:
1. Share Information
Be honest about what is happening at the top levels of the company. Employees should know what the business strategy is and what the perceived hazards are. Employees who understand how their daily tasks impact the company are more engaged in not only performing those tasks but creating efficiencies.
2. Ask for Ideas and Solutions
Once employees know about the business problems, ask them for ideas. All managers should keep an open and inviting attitude about discussing and accepting ideas from employees. For employees who are timid about presenting a problem and solution, the company should offer a more anonymous way for employees to communicate.
3. Report Back on Employee Ideas
Once the company receives ideas, it must evaluate those opportunities with earnest. Employees should also get feedback about the ideas or solutions they submitted. Tell them why a particular idea was or wasn’t a good fit. Involve that employee in the implementation of good ideas!
4. Treat your Employees Like Owners
Give employees the autonomy to make decisions and experiment with their jobs. When the work can be flexible, resist the urge to be controlling about schedules and processes. Allow your talented employees to create the most productive environment for themselves and for each other. Treat them as trustworthy and capable unless they prove themselves not to be.
5. Set the Culture and Play on Repeat
Don’t get lazy with the message. Keep sharing information and accepting feedback. Share the company goals every time you meet. Reinforce the connection between one person’s work and success to that goal. The objective doesn’t have to be covert – simply tell your employees that you want everyone to think and act like an owner.