To help your team feel that they are participating in running the company, follow this strategy:
- Share information. Financial information is crucial; team members will question whether they’re really full partners if finances are kept secret. But operational information is vital, too. Employees should understand how one person’s work affects others in the organization—the domino effect. Other information to share: strategies, successes (especially employee success stories), setbacks, and internal and external pressures.
- Educate your workforce. Employees may not be aware of what they need to know in order to understand company operations and ask intelligent questions. Explain what the numbers on your financial reports mean, and show how team members’ efforts affect the budgets and revenues in different areas.
- Ask for and encourage participation. If trust is high between management and staff, your organization probably has high levels of participation already. If not, start with small, formal steps—for instance, create a committee to offer suggestions on how to improve operations.
- Listen to your workforce. To foster a sense of ownership, you must commit yourself to being open to new ideas from unexpected sources. Encourage employees to come to you with their ideas, and reward them for their effort to do so.
- Learn about your workforce. Talk to your staff and learn who the most influential employees are, who the “squeaky wheels” are, and what kind of “grease” you’ll need to bring them on board.
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