Some employees are renters. They have a short-term view of their work relationship. They show less care and attention to the quality of their work and they do not have long-term potential. Employee owners, on the other hand, see their work relationship as a long-term proposition. They are interested in caring for and nurturing their skills so that the organization will prosper. Studies have shown that employee owners, those with commitment and dedication, are often created as a direct result of their relationship with their immediate supervisor. But how do supervisors help contribute to the nurturing of their employees? How do they create employee owners? Here are five tips that have been proved effective.
1. Recognize your responsibility to retain the owners. Employee “owners” don’t exist unless someone nurtures the relationship. Until the immediate supervisor accepts the responsibility, the task will go undone. Making employee morale and well-being a top priority is a first step.
2. Provide tons of feedback. “Owners” want to know how they are doing and how things are going so that they can constantly make appropriate adjustments. Their goal is to do their best and they can only do that with feedback. If you are not providing feedback on a daily basis, you should be.
3. Ask for tons of feedback. “Owners” have ideas that can be useful to the direction of the work unit. If you are not asking for their input, suggestions, and ideas on a regular basis (and using their ideas) they begin to feel as if they are not as valuable as they could be. By asking for feedback, you create ownership.
4. Look for hidden talents. “Owners” want to contribute in as many ways as they can to help the organization succeed. They ways they do that may be new to you. In one organization where I worked, a clerk asked to be part of the process to develop a new employee manual. Come to find out, his true passion was desktop publishing and graphics. Because the supervisor encouraged him to step out of his role as a clerk, the whole organization benefited from his creative skills and soon afterwards, he was their new graphics specialist. The employee and the organization won.
5. Ask yourself daily: What did I do to help an employee become better today? Supervisors get caught up in the daily tasks of trying to get the work done. In doing so, they often lose sight of their job of supporting employees. To create employee “owners,” spend a little time each day reflecting on the impact you’ve had others. In other words, leave them in a better place. Leaving them in a better place will keep them there for the long haul.
Marnie Green, Chandler, AZ, USA
Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Arizona-based Management Education Group, Inc. She is the author of Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day to Day Employee Performance (Pearson/Prentice Hall). Green is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations develop leaders today for the workforce of tomorrow. Contact Green at http://www.managementeducationgroup.com
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