Highly competitive fast-paced business environments demand employees stay on top of their game, ensuring both personal productivity and pursuing collective goals. Any employer would agree that a higher level of employee engagement can drive significant ROI and revenues. In achieving this, it takes more than what the company can give to employees; how employees perceive their job at the company and whether they share the same vision matters, too. This concept manifests in a sense of ownership. So, what is a sense of ownership in the workplace, and how to build it?
Why Sense of Ownership Matters
During the pandemic, where remote working becomes the new norm, the importance of ownership becomes more crucial among employees. Companies can achieve better with self-managing teams that are confident and feel trusted to make their own calls. Knowing that the company trusts them can lead to more dedication and loyalty. Employees with a strong sense of ownership take full responsibility for their job and their impact on the overall business performance. They celebrate company successes and establish long-term strategies for success.
Sense of ownership brings about many significant benefits for both companies and their workforce. Employees with a higher sense of ownership towards the job role view the workplace as an extension to their family and perform duties as an important part of their lives. Both personal and professional lives are integrated, equally important for their brighter future and investment. When they develop a feeling of “This is my job, I love being here, and I want to make the best out of it”, they grow to love what they do and even walk an extra mile to broaden their skillsets, expertise, and experience.
Here are 5 ways to build a sense of ownership among employees you can put into practice today:
1 . Start Right
The most fundamental thing to build a sense of ownership is to have the right start. Communicate very clearly on the company’s values to employees and the goals that are being worked on. This should be explained as early as possible, such as during the first day of the onboarding process. Knowing where your company is heading gives employees insights on how to define success. At the same time, you need to also ask them about their upheld values and how they can align with the company in striving for success.
Additionally, do not limit employees upon their assigned role. Instead, ask if they have anything outside their fields of interest that can improve the company in the future. For example, a backend engineer may have suggestions and insights for the product design division. While it is not mandatory to just do what they have in mind, being heard itself is already how a sense of ownership among employees grows. The best insights are often unexpected like this!
2 . Encourage Individual Accountability
Many supervisors or managers fail to entrust employees with a sense of responsibility and ownership towards the job role. While this can mean that managers do not want to harm the company’s business operation, employees can translate this as a sense of distrust. When employees are given a sense of trust over their job, they tend to become better performers at work. In contrast, if they do not feel they belong at their workplace, the overall outcome of their job may be less satisfying.
Sense of ownership motivates responsibility and accountability for the results of your work. There are certain things that need monitoring and supervising, but it is definite that not everything needs to be supervised. Other than this can lead to distrust, this can also make employees lose their individual accountability. An accountable employee will not be hesitant to take the wheel when required. While you cannot force everyone to adopt this mindset, you can encourage individual accountability. For example, you do not have to constantly remind your team members to submit their reports before the due date. Let them work on their own to practice accountability.
3 . Allow employees to speak up
If you want employees to feel like they need to contribute to the team’s success, include them in the decision-making process. Give time at meetings for everyone to express their concerns, questions, and ideas; you might just find amazing insights from the usually unheard ones. Listen to their concerns and ask leading questions, like “what do you think will be the best solution for this issue?”.
Being involved in decision making and collaborating provides employees with the knowledge needed to make independent decisions. You can also organize frequent goal-setting sessions to establish collaborative standards that everyone can feel excited about. Most importantly, do not forget to provide positive encouragement and express congratulations for every progress. You have no idea how a simple compliment can elevate motivation!
4 . Make Room for Mistakes.
Everyone makes errors and learns from them, so managers should provide opportunities for growth by providing timely feedback to employees on their performance. Companies may need to go through several trials and errors in order to discover the right market, consumers, and corporate branding. Employees who make mistakes in their daily operations and learn from them are in the same situation.
Companies should establish a secure working environment that allows for some space for mistakes or errors, as long as they do not harm the company, cause substantial loss, or disturb the working environment, in order to foster a greater feeling of responsibility. Be open to erring, such that employees will not hesitate to experiment and innovate with new ideas and concepts at work.
5 . Show respect.
Respect should go both ways; if you expect employees to respect their leaders, show them the same respect. It is acceptable if senior employees may have more financial benefits or other perks compared to new ones. What is not acceptable is treating new employees with disrespect through ‘little discriminations’. For example, you allow senior employees to spend their lunch break outside of the office for two hours, but get mad when new employees are just out for less than half an hour to go to the ATM. This is a sign you are in the wrong; this is where respect is not found. How do you expect your employees to have a sense of ownership if they do not get even the most basic respect?
Equality and justice in a multicultural workplace culture will increase employee engagement, productivity, and sense of ownership. It is difficult to develop a sense of ownership in employees; but, if the individual shows signs of loyalty, commitment, and attention to the job position, the company will gain from greater profit revenues.
The most effective leaders recognize that leadership is all about people. Making your employees feel more valued is a key factor in successful management. When employees feel respected, it encourages a sense of pride, loyalty, and personal ownership. This implies they are considerably more likely to stick around and help your company thrive. Your employees may not need extravagant incentives to feel appreciated. Rather, the greater investment is in developing a connection with them.
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