As an employee retention speaker and employee retention author, I often hear owners and Presidents say they would like their employees to act like owners. They tell me about all of the things that they would like employees to be doing like bringing up ideas to make things better, be more committed, bring up solutions not problems, etc. I then start asking them how they treat their employees and it becomes very evident that they treat the employees like…employees. They don’t treat them like owners. Think about it. How can you expect someone to act like an owner when you don’t treat them with the same respect as you would if someone was your partner in the business?
One of the first things owners can do is to ask for suggestions. Often, they are afraid to ask for suggestions because they will hear things they don’t want to hear or don’t want to do. That may be the case, but then they need to explain to their people why they would not want to do something, why it does not make sense or may not be practical. But, until you start a discussion like that, people will not know any better about why it doesn’t make sense for the business. If they have never been an owner, they need to be educated and one of the best ways is to talk to them about what it’s like to own the business. In some cases, you may even have to try some things that you don’t want to do just to SHOW people why it did not make sense. Soon, they will start to understand what running a business is about. You can’t assume that someone is going to turn into a GOOD owner overnight. They may have to learn!
More often than not, people have good ideas that drive the business forward and make money for the business. The other key thing that this employee retention trainer sees as important is to share the wealth when something is successful and it makes the business money. But then, I often hear something like, “that’s what I am paying them for!” Yes, you are but, if you want them to start thinking like an owner you have to reward them like an owner and share the wealth. For that reason, I love spot bonuses or bonuses tied to the results of the organization on a quarterly, 6-month or yearly interval. It keeps the focus on what it should be on…making a profit.
If you want your employees think and act like owners, ask them for ideas, listen to them and then reward them when they work. If you treat them like employees, they will act like employees. If you treat them like owners, they will start to act like owners. When they start to think and act like owners, you see your employee retention improve as a byproduct. Why? Because people will not walk away from their business, but they will walk away from an employer!