While attending a market research seminar a consultant noticed the phone company employee sitting next to him pulling out her phone to place a call. He then commented that the phone was made by one of her employer’s competitors. “Oh I don’t actually use our phones,” she laughed. “Too unreliable.” The consultant thought to himself, “What a shame!”

Employees who don’t exude faith in what happens within an organisation lack an ownership mentality. They see the company through a ‘me’ and ‘them’ lens and are there for what can benefit them primarily. When people stop thinking win-win where their organisation is concerned, it is a sign that they are not engaged at work.

A number of CEOs, line leaders and supervisors view employee engagement merely as ensuring employees are busy. While there may be somewhat of a link, employee engagement differs in the sense that an engaged employee is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work, hence takes positive action to further the organisation’s reputation and interests at every opportunity. An engaged employee shows emotional and mental commitment to the organisation and its goals.

This emotional and mental commitment means that engaged employees are not only busy at work but actually care about their company and the work they do. They don’t just work for a pay cheque or the next promotion but work towards achieving the organisation’s goals.

Engaged employees act with an ownership mentality. They work overtime when needed without being asked, and savour every opportunity to showcase and market their organisations product or service offerings. This ownership mindset displayed by engaged employees is not an accidental creation. Ownership is a product of the C-Suite and line leaders ensuring a culture that promotes these four traits within an organisation:

1. A culture of trust: it is easy for people to take ownership when they know the system is fair, line leaders walk the talk and are trustworthy.

2. Consistent communication: For people to embrace ownership, they must be kept in the loop, are clear on where the business is heading understand what is actually going on and get feedback on their contribution.

3. A stake in the outcome: If you want employees to act like owners, you have to treat them as such. Hoarding of obvious business information does not provide an enabling environment for ownership to take root. Learn to share the successes and failures of the organisation so people become vested and have “skin in the game”.

4. Rate performance objectively: It is impossible for employees to take ownership for the success of an organisation, when they do not clearly understand what ‘success’ looks like in that organisation and precisely how it will be measured. The single most important factor is to build a “culture of accountability” via goals and performance objectives.

We encourage you to transition from just wanting to engage and retain employees to enabling them develop an Ownership mindset.

Ownership: That’s our renewed focus – what’s yours?

-Ngozi Adebiyi is the Lead Consultant at OutsideIn HR – “We develop commercially astute HR leaders and equip business leaders employees to build an Ownership mindset!”

How we translate Value – http://youtu.be/Q53MzXSpd58