Today I am excited to introduce you to my husband, Shane Kenny. He is a serial entrepreneur, an incredible boss to his employees, and pretty much my favorite person on the planet. He’s going to talk to us today about ownership. Though it’s written primarily to business owners, I want to challenge you to apply it to all of the areas of life where you lead. Enjoy.
Heather and I walked into the cupcake shop at 8:50. We had just squeaked in before the 9:00 closing time. The first thing we noticed was the wet floor and the girl finishing up her mopping. In the 5 minutes it took for us to get our cupcakes, it became clear to us that we had interrupted her closing duties. As we walked back to our car Heather said, “Not an owner.”
If you are the owner of a growing business you probably know the problem all too well. You worked hard to grow your business and reached the point where you needed help. So, you hired someone. Things went well for a while before you start to notice issues. Maybe longtime customers complain that, “It is just not as good as it used to be.” Maybe you just start to notice that things are no longer being done to the level that you would have done them.
Without realizing it you have created an “employee” when you really wanted an “employee-owner”. What’s the difference? An employee collects a paycheck by doing a good enough job to not get fired. They don’t care about your business or customers. An employee-owner takes pride in their work and does the job like they own the place. They want to see your business succeed because they treat it like their own.
So how do we create employee-owners rather than just hiring employees?
Ownership needs to be:
Just because you got help does not mean it is time to sit back and put your feet up on the desk. You need to show how you want the job done. You need to lead by example. If new, or old, employees see you completing the closing checklist before closing they will assume it is OK to do this when they close. Do you like the merchandise organized a specific way? Then don’t walk by something that is out of place without fixing it.
Employees cannot read your mind. This is why demonstrating how you want things done is important. Just as important is teaching them. This is a deliberate activity where you show them step-by-step how you want things done. Then, follow this up with a written checklist or job description. The most important activities for your business may need to be taught over and over again. About the time you get sick of saying it, they are just starting to hear it.
Make sure your employees know that you notice when they are doing things the way you want them done. On the flip side, don’t shrink away from addressing issues when they surface. I am a big fan of using secret shoppers. If you’re big enough to hire a firm to manage your secret shopper program, then go for it. If not, you can have a friend try out your company and give their feedback. Whichever way you go, share the results with your employees. Letting them know you are doing secret shoppers is a great way to remind them to not cut corners.
Not all employees will become employee-owners. But by demonstrating, teaching, and encouraging your employees there is a better chance you will get employee-owners that will truly allow you to continue to grow your business.