Written by Maria Timothy, Senior Consultant at OneIMS Which helps companies grow by creating and capturing demand and managing and nurturing relationships.
As a business owner, a sense of ownership is an integral part of the job. Your commitment to your job is the result of your conviction and determination to make your vision a reality. However, it can be difficult to find employees who can share your feelings about ownership and investment in the company. Although much of your success in building a good team is due to identifying and hiring talent, once you have a quality workforce on board, it is important to provide the right environment to encourage them to participate and take responsibility in their roles. Ideally, you want to encourage people to feel that by working with you, they are also working for themselves – not only because their jobs allow them to advance their careers, but because business directly supports them in doing so. By following a few simple strategies, you can also help foster an environment of growth and improve employee ownership.
Clearly define your “why” factor
Almost no one does well in a vacuum, it is unclear what they are working for. As business leaders, we sometimes forget that just because our vision is clear in our minds, we are not always good at communicating this to our employees. This is why it is so important to have a clear business plan with long and short term goals that help define what you are working towards as an organization and why. By putting these elements in place, you can not only help employees see the bigger picture of where the company is headed but also design short-term performance goals in line with this. Understanding why you’re doing at work also helps during the inevitable busy periods when teams feel overwhelmed. Knowing that there is a long-term goal that everyone is working towards helps maintain motivation and morale when unexpected challenges arise.
Treat the “how” as a team
It is normal for business owners or management to want to plan in detail how they see the achievement of business goals. And while planning for success is important, not including your team in mapping how to achieve your goals is not only a missed opportunity to discover good ideas you wouldn’t have thought of yourself, but also a missed opportunity to make employees more engaged and ownership. If you’ve already identified the reason for what you’re doing, it’s also important to involve your team in brainstorming about how to achieve your goals. People respond better and are more involved when implementing the solutions they suggested or co-created, rather than just telling them what to do with little or no agency about how they should do the work. So get everyone involved and find that you will naturally foster an environment of growth and encourage ownership at all levels.
Encourage independence and constructive feedback
Once you have a reason and how to operate, you will want to add elements of independence and feedback in order to create a closed loop to encourage employees to take ownership. Where appropriate, employees need to be encouraged to be independent – consider being given responsibility for delivering projects or managing certain business operations. Allowing them to do so as they see fit gives them the opportunity to feel empowered about what is happening in their jobs. It also frees you up as a manager so that you don’t manage your team in detail, focusing on results rather than process. Your employee may not perform their tasks as well as you do, but they may be just as effective, if not more, using their own methods. However, it is also important to encourage open feedback so that you can address any issues quickly and openly as they arise, as well as recognize and highlight success.
Owning long-term success
Taking ownership means investing time and energy in taking responsibility for your job and your role within the bigger picture of what he contributes to the company. For employees to be prepared to do this, they must feel that through their work, not only are they investing in themselves but the company is also willing to invest in their development. By fostering an environment with clear goals, where employees are encouraged to participate in developing plans and given the autonomy to implement solutions, you will surely find long-term business success with a team that takes ownership.