Ownership is one of those things that’s hard to define, but easy to recognize. A sense of ownership is activated naturally in people when they have a financial or emotional stake in something. When something can be described as “mine,” it triggers feelings of accountability that are not present from a position of “yours.” To this effect, smart organization understand the importance of investing whatever it takes to ensure its human resource displays the level of commitment needed to retain the competitive edge derived from unwavering customer loyalty, sustained business expansion and employee satisfaction.
Organizations have realized that getting employees to do much more can cost much more than is required to remain profitable. Hence, exploring alternative means to achieving this sustained growth in business has resulted in the need to help employees develop the ‘ownership’ mindset.
Continuing from the previous post, this week’s post focuses on how to get employees to demonstrate much more ownership than they presently are. The following are some of the ways in which I believe employees may be engaged to think more like ‘owners’:
1. Providing adequate support for employees. Ensuring resources required to effectively execute tasks are available and easily accessible. There is nothing as uninspiring as a fired-up employee without the necessary tools.
2. Constantly taking the time to ensure employees are aware of the importance of their role to overall success of the business. This may require drawing distinct links between employees’ job functions and specific corporate objectives. Instilling a sense of relevance does go a long way in promoting a sense of ownership. When we feel what we do matters, we tend to put in more effort into making it work.
3. Shared vision: the manager’s involvement in the job often demonstrates the ‘important’ and often, ‘urgent’ nature of tasks. Consequently, to shore up the level of ownership displayed by staff, it is important that managers ‘work’ their ‘talk’.
4. The manager-associate relationship has been termed one of the most crucial relationships in the workplace. Managers must use this opportunity to their advantage by influencing the quality of work as well as the attitude to work of associates. Hence, Managers must seek to become mentors rather than dictators.
5. Provision of timely and constructive feedback communicates commitment to the project as well as the success of the employee. Endearing employees to their organization encourages them to ‘own’ their job roles.
6. Increased responsibility and complexity of tasks does serve as a motivation for some classes of employees. Once these employees are identified, the tools along with sufficient authority to go along with these responsibilities should be adequately deployed.
7. Naturally, individuals will show more interest when they are actively a part of the project. As much as is possible, every team member should be held accountable for specific tasks and their respective outcomes -as is often said in performance management, what isn’t measured doesn’t get done.
8. Fairness in all respects (in relation to reward sharing, task allocation and other ancillary benefits) improves chances of engagement and an ownership mindset among staff.
9. Ultimately, a large part of all this can be controlled at the recruitment stage by ensuring round pegs are fitted in round holes. By exploring relevant tools which incorporate the skills, interests and disposition of employees, in my opinion, improves the chances of achieving an ‘ownership mindset’ from the onset.
Ideally, if references were what they used to be, they would have been the perfect and most reliable prediction of future behaviour patterns. In Nigeria, as in most parts of the world, references have become a tool utilized by the friends of applicants to ‘put in a good word’ for the latter.
10. Finally, emphasis must be on HR’ s role in providing an enabling environment for both managers and associates to exercise an ownership mindset is in force. Recognizing and rewarding required behaviour may also prove useful.