Assigning accountability to one's employees is surmised to lead to greater productivity. However, business thought leaders and coaches believe that building a culture of ownership does the company and its employees more good.
According to international company Oliver Wyman, employees feel a personal stake in the company when they operate under an ownership mindset. They are aware that their own actions affect the firm’s success or failure. Though these two concepts are closely related, ownership is deeper and more personal than a mere sense of responsibility.
So, what makes a culture of ownership worth nurturing?
#1 It fosters loyalty.
Jay* started as a seasonal call center agent. Because of his work ethics and good performance, he rose to a supervisory position before his first year at work. Considering his previous managerial posts in other outsourcing companies, it's no surprise he has received many job offers with bigger pay and benefits.
However, he turns down all of these proposals. He says he wants to advance the company, and goes on to explain his innovative ideas as though he is the CEO.
He doesn’t have to be one to effect change in the organization. Exuding a confident sense of ownership, he is investing his talents, time, and skills because he thinks and works like a co-owner.
Does the owner quit his own company? Unless it gets sold or goes bankrupt, that doesn’t make sense. When employees feel like they’re owners or investors, they do not simply grow at or with the company. They grow the company themselves. This only happens when they are listened to, and have a voice in which direction to take.
#2 Collective success is bound to happen.
Ownership culture may sound like an improbable utopia or a ‘company communism’, or to some degree, a form of anarchy. But in Tasty Catering, this actually works--and it works excellently. Forbes awarded them as one of America’s Best Small companies. They were recognized as Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Workplace. They also received the APA National Award for Psychologically Healthiest Workplace, and 101 Best and Brightest Workplace National Award, among other badges of honor.
“[Employees] are free to make decisions and implement efficiencies without going up the ladder… the company basically runs itself; the employees serve as checks and balances for each other,” said one of the founders of the catering company.
#3 Employees see each other as partners.
Goal-driven and highly-competitive individuals sometimes create tension between them, especially when they’re both vying for the same promotion. Some bosses actively create competition, believing it will push employees to work harder. However, this could cause counterproductive and toxic relationships and situations at work.
When individuals take the concept of ownership culture to heart, they are more interested and invested in the welfare of the company as a whole than in themselves as individuals. This may be achieved when actions get more praise and merit than somebody's position. Cooperation prevails over competition.
Employees with a sense of ownership feel contented with their work environment and will want to share the same experience with significant people in their lives. Aside from that, they want to be surrounded by people whom they are comfortable with and whose skills and temperaments they already know how to guide towards productivity.
This contributes greatly to company stability as referrals tend to stay longer with the company, are usually well-satisfied for the job, and considered top-quality talent, among other advantages.
#5 There is room for great growth. Ideas and creativity flow abundantly.
While micromanagement may work for small companies, it will be detrimental to the ones which aspire for growth. Why? Because the company is only following the ideas of a limited number of people. And with the boss poring over every task and decision, employees at the bottom will be resentful, feeling like oxen driven with a whip suppressing their ideas and full potential.
When an owner makes his goals clear, aligns it with his employees, and allows them some freedom to perform with their own methods, we discover more than one way to solve a problem. Talents show. Brains work. People get in touch with their pace and skills, and push themselves extra hard.
When an employee is simply considered accountable for something, it is understood that a task and its accompanying liabilities are only delegated, and that a manager or a supervisor are still answerable for the starting idea, the credits, and the consequences. When you give your employees the freedom and the authority, they will actually feel valued, and will "own up" to it.