You Want Employees to Think Like Owners?

Yet you don’t treat them like Owners?
So, why should they?

Do you pay them like owners? That could be a start: Base compensation that’s within market ranges, plus a formula- based bonus dependent on how much performance was above industry averages.

Eh? Too often we think we’ve met their needs with market compensation and benefits. Not so.

To get true engagement, they want some control over their decisions, respect, recognition, a worthy goal, development, flexibility, open-minded managers, and balance.

So say several Conference Board human capital studies.

Take Recognition: My father told me once how he and his fellow employees set a new shipping record for a particular month. When execs came to the plant, they complained about paper on the floor … no praise for the record. Come on!

A Worthy Goal: Jobs should have “meaning,” making a difference. Do you explain how the task being performed aligns with corporate goals and makes the world a better place? Not just Millennials want this. Everyone does.

Control: Everyone wants to be active participants in what they do, including decisions that affect their tasks. The more they are allowed to decide things, the more ownership they take.

Respect: Respect is returned in kind. When you demonstrate true high regard for employees’ contributions, they will give yours valued attention. Respect is an essential component of a company’s values, and you have to consistently practice it throughout the business.

Development: The adage, “I can’t promise you continued employment, but I can promise you employability,” is an important one. Too often today, employees see long- term employment jeopardized. When you continually offer opportunities to upgrade skills, it helps them remain viable workers.

Flexibility: Everyone needs flexibility because of the pressures of daily lives. Inflexible companies that demand strict adherence to rules and regulations will discourage people form working there, and employees will “bad mouth” you in the community … the reverse of what you need. You must foster an environment of open-mindedness.

Speaking of Open-Mindedness: All value originates with ideas and innovations. To thrive, the best companies listen to employees at all levels in the organization for their improvement insights. They care. It’s a significant opportunity to find increased value.

Balance: Gone are the days when the job is the most outstanding event in a person’s life. That was once true, but not the mantra has shifted from “live to work” to “work to live.” Heed it!

Loyalty has been significantly compromised, and we have ourselves to blame. The merger/ acquisition mania has demonstrated to young people how their parents’ positions were insignificant compared to sale/merger opportunities. It’s always in an employee’s mind.

But you can still foster an ownership mentality, a committed loyalty, if you can respond to what’s in it for them.

By Jim Lindell Chair, TEC 16, 29