What does it mean when employees “own” their work? In general, ownership is defined as:
• Being accountable for performing one’s duties efficiently and effectively
• Taking responsibility for the results of one’s work (good and bad)
• Sharing a passion for the business on a level with those who run the business
“Leaders of some of the best small workplaces have [created] cultures where employees work with this kind of passion and cooperation,” says Marcus Erb, director of client insights at Great Place to Work. “In these organizations, we’ve found that 94 percent of employees report a willingness to give more than is expected of them, and 93 percent say they can count on each other to cooperate.”
Here’s how a manager can encourage such passion and cooperation:Set an example
Employees take cue from their leaders. Managers who get to work on time every day and don’t look for ways to leave early set an example for taking their jobs seriously.
Share the big picture
The more team members understand about the company’s overall strategy and direction—and their place in that process—the more reasons they have to contribute.
Give team members independence
Give individuals some latitude, but encourage them to be accountable for their work.Accept mistakes
Instead of punishing a person for mistakes made, examine what happened. Work with the employee to find solutions.Reward outstanding achievements
A team member who goes above and beyond deserves acknowledgment. Show your appreciation with a reward that matters (e.g., a bonus, an extra day off).Treat the team with respect
Set guidelines for a fair and safe workplace, but don’t pile on additional rules concerning personal conduct. Employees who are treated like grown-ups generally behave like mature and responsible adults. Team members who take ownership of their jobs deserve your respect and fair treatment.