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Managing “Like an Owner”

Recently, I attended a terrific conference in Hershey of the ESOP Association, an organization dedicated to the success and growth of employee-owned companies. Much of the conversation, and many of the workshops, were focused on how we need to teach employees how to “act and behave like owners”. Two sessions, for example, were Developing Leadership at All Levels, and Leadership Development and Succession Planning for Long Term Sustainability” The thought behind these, of course, is that at an ESOP, where employees actually do own a piece of the company, they can be trained and motivated to work smarter and harder.

The workshops were excellent and thought-provoking, but I also came out thinking that ESOP employees aren’t really that different from any other company’s employees. Yes, excellent performance can impact the ESOP’s value, and, therefore the employee’s profit-sharing, but we also know that a lot of that motivation he/she is feeling is much more than about the money.  Motivation to do a great job comes from feeling…

  • Proud of being part of an important team
  • Respected by being involved in problem-solving and decision-making
  • Included in company direction through frequent communications
  • Motivated by achieving goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Engaged by a positive relationship with the supervisor
  • Developed by meaningful and action-oriented learning programs

We enjoy working with all kinds of organizations. ESOPs may have a “simpler” message to employees because results can be directly tied to their pocketbooks. Day-to-day, however, most employees are pretty much driven by the same things. Through planning, training, leadership development and coaching, all employees can be more satisfied and productive–and that leads to improved bottom lines all the way around.