One of the most important things you can cultivate in your business is a sense of ownership among your employees.
You want employees to feel that sense of accountability and also like they have control over how they are meeting objectives. The last thing you want is employees just to come to work to check the boxes. This mentality won’t drive growth, innovation, or loyalty.
It’s up to you as an entrepreneur to help your employees develop that ownership mentality, and the following tips can help.
Offer Stock Options
When you offer employees stock options, they can actually become owners of the company. Offering stock options has a lot of benefits from the employer and employee perspective.
For you, along with promoting a culture of ownership, it also helps you attract top talent without blowing through all of your cash. You’re tying employee work into success and growth of the company that they’ll eventually be able to benefit from financially. You may be able to get better-skilled employees even if you can’t offer more cash.
Stock options also promote loyalty among employees.
Entrepreneurs are notoriously bad at delegating, and even if they do technically delegate, they aren’t necessarily doing it effectively.
Employees tend not to take ownership and be less proactive when they’re not sure whether or not they should. When employees feel like they have to check in with you or they’re worried about making a decision without you, there’s not going to be a sense of ownership.
Delegation effectively goes beyond just assigning tasks. Delegating is about strong communication about decision-making and who has the power to decide what. You might feel that this would be made easier if you utilized capacity planning tools, to help make the process less laborious.
When you give your employees at least a level of decision-making power, then they can also take accountability for those decisions.
You can delegate authority too. For example, if there’s something particular employees seem particularly excited about, let them take on some elements of authority over the team related to that area.
Set a Roadmap But Not Specific Objectives
One interesting way to build more ownership mentality in your company is to step back from setting objectives. No, this doesn’t mean that your employees have no idea what they’re working toward. Instead, you can create a roadmap and then ask your team what they think their role and objectives should be within that.
You can ask them the results they’re going to deliver and how you’re going to know those are being met.
This approach can create a sense of not only personal accountability but also engagement. There’s more of a connection between employees and the larger strategic vision for the company when they’re in the driver’s seat as far as how they fit into that.
If your employees aren’t sure how to set goals, you can help them create them. You can also then glean some insight into what they find motivational, which will allow you to develop them better.
Once your employees have defined more specific goals and objectives, let them figure out how they want to achieve those. What can happen, along with that ownership sensibility, is that your employees might come up with better ways of doing things even than what you’d considered.
Encourage Your Employees to Solve Problems
If an employee approaches you with a problem or a challenge, why not ask them also to bring you some potential solutions? Employees who think critically and identify solutions tend to think more like entrepreneurs and owners.
Link Roles and Assignments to Large Priorities and Goals
An employee is unlikely to feel a sense of ownership when they don’t understand the whys of what they’re doing.
First, be transparent. Second, make sure you’re connecting anything you’re asking an employee to do with more significant priorities and goals so they see where it fits in and why it has a purpose.
Encourage Your Employees to Speak Openly
You’re going to destroy your corporate culture without transparency and a feeling of comfort on the part of your employees to speak openly and honestly and share their concerns. Your employees need to feel like they can come forward with an idea, a comment or a concern.
Finally, give feedback rather than criticism. An ownership mentality means your employees are constantly learning and improving, which they can’t do without constructive feedback. If a mistake is made, then you might step in and work with them to identify ways to avoid a similar situation in the future.