2 mar. 2015

Owning the balance (sic!)

Through ownership is generally understood the degree an employee has the feeling of being the owner of the company - all the approaches of the organizations are oriented in this respect: to determine people to work as if it is their own company. My point of view on ownership in the workplace is different: to welcome people to live their work time as if is their own life. It could seem odd, but let us acknowledge there are plenty of signs that people do live a split life – so harmful. We live longer, but our life is shorter..  with the very hours we work.

We all noticed – or used - those funny cartoons saying Mondays are to be cut from the calendar, or..
We all noticed – or said – things like ‘’I use only half of what I am at work’’ or….
We all are concerned with life-work balance, assuming by this very statement that work is not life.

Usually, people associate ‘’employee ownership’’ with owning shares - or, as in the above cited research, with “investment,” “incentive,” “teamwork,” “bogus,” “equality,” “a good benefit,” “employee involvement”.  Lets acknowledge that wage’s level is important – Maslow basic needs pyramid -, and as participation to company’s profit it is thoroughly important to developing a sense of ownership – nobody would agree to own an uncomfortable situation. 

From the reported data, is interesting to notice that ‘’fairness’’ (to be treated fairly at work) has the highest level against the so perceived more practical dimensions of ownership related to financial aspects. Fairness is one of the main values even so called bad people have – any thief cherishes his fairness toward his bad conduct. Fairness is something we own by default, and as it springs on the first place of needed conditions for feeling a sense of ownership in the work place is a sign that people are aware of living their lives in the workplace. And they want to live it properly.

Leaders and managers are advised to also be aware of that, and to put needed actions in their strategies to welcome ‘’employee ownership’’, paying attention to fairness, incentives, participation: communicate with honor; elicit involvement at all levels, and celebrate support personnel do offer; ask what ownership means to people and ‘’tailor plans’’ to fit their needs.

But, material or not, all these perspectives target an allowed participation - a company’s decision to follow -, not an assumed ownership to feel and to act accordingly: a personal option to be responsible of. And yet there are aloud organizational statements on empowerment and entrepreneurial attitude encouragement in the workplace – and both are rooted in welcoming individual’s sense of responsibility. And freedom. Read it ownership.

                                                     photo credit: Kathy Colaiacovo