Rent: to grant possession or use of in exchange for payment

Own: to acknowledge as accountable; recognize as having full claim

All employers want their employees to give their best work; they want them to be invested in the success of the business.   And many employers expect for their employees to do that simply in exchange for payment.  I’ve even heard restaurateurs asking their waiters to treat their tables as their own business.

If we really think about it – the notion that employees should treat their jobs as if they are owners is not logical.  Do we expect that employees should just be grateful to have a job?  Some might say, “yes”.  However, do landlords expect their renters to replace the roof or fix the foundation of the house?  Probably not.  

The best way to encourage your employees to think like owners is to make them owners and then teach them what you know.   In order for employees to think more holistically about their job and to make suggestions and adjustment for the betterment of the company, they need to be aware of the whole picture.

While you are converting your business to employee-owned, there are certain actions you can take to prepare your team for a new way of doing business.  As the idiom goes:



  • Birds Eye View – Every single one of your employees should know the short-term and long-term goals of the company and how close the company is to accomplishing those goals.
  • The More the Merrier – Bring in employees from different departments and levels to help create the strategic vision of the company.
  • Crunch the Numbers – Employees should understand the basic financial statements and specifically how their job affects those numbers
  • Hold Your Own – Give employees the space to own their projects…don’t micromanage.  People will hold themselves accountable when they care.
  • Talk is not Cheap – Conduct regular informal meetings to converse about how projects are going.  The tone should be conversational not a structured debrief.  
  • Expect the Best Prepare for the Worst – Set clear expectations and make sure employees are on the same page.  Give specific feedback quickly when team members are not meeting expectations.
  • Bang for the Buck – Employees should reap the benefits of growing the company’s profits.


We know that there is a direct correlation between ownership and performance; just as we know that shared leadership models lead to a more productive and innovative leadership team.  For help creating an ownership culture in your organization, call the Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center.