Be Clear – Create an Ownership Culture

Do your employees act like owners? Or are they merely renters?

Job renters are not fully engaged. They’re non-committal. They may contribute for awhile but then they move along.  Owners, on the other hand, choose to take full responsibility for their performance, embracing the full result of their efforts regardless of the outcome. You may even describe owners as “accountable.”

Accountability sounds like a reasonable expectation for employees, but be careful… Accountability is often done TO employees, rather than with employees. Ownership, on the other hand, represents how an employee approaches the job–with integrity, creativity, and energy. Simply put, when employees own their work, accountability is the result.

So how can you begin to establish a culture of ownership? Here are a few practical tips:

  • Share big-picture and organizational plans early and often.
  • Enlist employee participation in goal setting for the work unit.
  • Conduct regular “keep interviews”-conversations about what will keep the employee motivated, engaged, and retained.
  • Give employees ample opportunity to own their assigned projects and progress.
  • Communicate reasonable expectations and check with employees to make sure they are clear on those expectations.
  • Give frequent and immediate feedback so employees know when they are meeting your expectations.
  • Give specific and timely feedback when employees are not meeting your expectations.
  • Ask employees to make recommendations for addressing ongoing organizational challenges.
  • Seek customer feedback and share it directly with employees in a timely manner.
  • Break away from micromanaging. Set expectations and allow space for employees to learn. Learn to let go.
  • Create a reward system to reinforce ownership behavior.

Every day you are creating a work environment filled with renters or owners. Creating an ownership culture is one of the four mind-sets for a painless performance conversation.  Learn more about creating a workplace full of owners in chapter eight of my new book Painless Performance Conversations.

You can also read about the four mind-sets for painless performance conversations in a   recently featured article on American Express OPEN ForumOPEN forum.
4 Ways to Motivate Detached Employees.


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