Employee Owners vs. Employee Renters: Which Do You Employ?
Employees are a lot like cars or houses. The amount of care, attention to detail, and feelings of permanency we project toward our cars or houses is comparable to the way employees view their work relationship. Consider the analogy.
When we rent a car or a house, we are less likely to spend a lot of time caring for it, nurturing it, or preserving it. On vacation, when we hit a big bump on the road, we say, "no big deal… its a rental." Or if we knick the wall of our rented apartment we say, "oh well, well be moving soon." Our attention to the little details are not as precise because we know our relationship with that particular car or house is not going to last forever.
Some of our employees are also renters. They view their jobs from a temporary perspective. With the short-timer approach, they are less likely to give great attention to the accuracy or precision of their work. They believe that the quality of their work is "no big deal" because they wont be there for very long. As a result, performance suffers and they look to move on as quickly as they can, once theyve gotten what they wanted from our employment.
On the flip side, when we own our own house or car, we are more likely to spend time on the maintenance. We concern ourselves with the cleanliness and appearance of our property. If the car gets a scratch, we may touch it up. More regularly, we give the house a fresh coat of paint. Our property is something we are proud of and usually, we expect to own it for an extended length of time.
Many of our employees are owners. They approach their work with a sense of pride. They work hard to maintain the quality of their work, as well as the quality of their relationships because they know that theyll be there for an extended period.
In this day of layoffs, reorganizations and downsizing, we are creating more opportunities for the renters to thrive. As leaders, we must do our best to create owners and the owner mentality. Recently, the Gallup Organization interviewed two million employees at 700 companies nationwide. A significant finding of the report was that employee tenure and productivity are directly related to the relationship between the employee and their immediate supervisor. Employee tenure and productivity are key indicators of an employee owner.
The conclusion is obvious. If you are a supervisor, you are responsible for creating employee owners. Spend more time cultivating the owners and retaining them for the long term. Dont spend your time on renters. Theyre going to be moving on anyway.