What If Your Employees Acted Like Owners?

Jun 18, 2024 | Employee Retention, Employees, Growth Tips, Leadership, Management

Employees that are treated (and act) like owners will go above and beyond, especially when it counts.

Starbucks employees are a great example of this phenomenon.

I recently listened to an inspiring podcast (“Acquired”) on Howard Schultz, the innovator behind Starbucks.

He shared all his big decisions and challenges.

One of his most impactful was giving ownership to his employees before the company went public.

It was a gutsy move, and it paid off.

While Starbucks is known for their coffee, their success comes from being obsessed with their culture and employee/customer experience.

And it all starts with every Starbucks employee being treated like an owner.

(This is not much different from how Ryan Lawn & Tree treats their employees. Listen to my podcast “The Ultimate Landscape CEO” where I interview the founder, Larry Ryan.)

Four Ways To Build Ownership & Community.

Even if you don’t give actual ownership, how do you get employees to feel like owners?

1. Call Them Partners.

Howard Schultz calls his employees “partners”.

He found that the more you treat your employees like partners, the more credibility you have with them, and the more you can accomplish together.

Labels are important.

However, you have to walk the talk to make them stick.

2. Give Employees a Stake in the Outcome.

Owners get dividends when the company makes money.

It’s not difficult to share this perk/incentive with your team (be it with just your leadership or all your team members)

A stake in the outcome aligns the interests of everyone who works for the company.

Public companies do this, and so do private companies in our industry, just like Ryan Lawn & Tree.

3. Involve Employees in Key Decisions.

When employees (partners!) are involved in making quarterly and annual strategic decisions, it gives them the feeling of control over their environment and future.

According to experts, that is the one thing all people crave: control.

Not only that, involving all these “brains and hearts” makes your company smarter, and gives you a competitive advantage.

Do this one on one, in small groups and in big team meetings.

4. Be Honest and Forthright

Your team will be more loyal to you, in the good times and bad, when they feel like partners.

But only when you communicate regularly and honestly about what is going on.

You have to continue to communicate even when times get tough.

e.g. when you are wildly off your budget and get scared to share what’s going on, that is the exact time to trust your team,

If you are accountable to them, they will be accountable to you.

Your Challenge: Giving your people as much ownership as practical.

Whether you do profit sharing, give actual ownership, or you merely want your people to feel more like owners, the most direct way to do this is to “act as if”.

“What if” every employee were an owner:

  1. How would you start referring to them?
  2. What would you share with them?
  3. How often would you keep them in the loop?
  4. What decisions would you involve them in?

What else would you do differently?

This is a great topic of discussion for your leadership team to tackle.

Let’s do this, and achieve one-of-a-kind success like Starbucks.

— Jeffrey!

P.S. You can also bring your team to our Summer Growth Summit, to see how Ryan Lawn & Tree goes about this.

The Early Bird discount ends in three days, so sign up this week and save big!