Are your staff members “Owners or Renters”?

I get my ideas and inspiration for my blog posts from a variety of places.  There are times when an idea just comes to me.  Still others pop into my mind while in the shower and more recently I have gotten may great ideas from sermons I have heard while attending , a church located in .  Tony Giles and David Cassidy have been two men who have delivered some very impactful sermons over the past few years and I have to give the credit today to David, a fellow former-Midwesterner who was also smart enough to move south.

Today’s sermon came from Ephesians 2, 11-22.  During this passage Paul talks about bringing two disparate groups into “one”, or into one cohesive group.  During the course of the sermon David alluded to people in churches being either “renters or owners”, much like homeowners.  This analogy struck me and made me think that employees or staff members are very much the same way.  Everyone in your organization either has a renter or owner mentality, and being able to tell which is which is important.  More so, knowing how to move renters to owners is just as important.  Thirdly, understanding who those are that will always be renters is also important.  There is nothing wrong with having a few renters in the “house” at any one time, but if you have too many renters it makes things difficult for everyone.  Let’s explore the characteristics of “renters versus owners” and then talk more about how to transition from one to the other.

Here are some of the tendencies of Renters in the workplace:

  • may have some level of commitment, but may also be looking for the next place to rent on a regular basis
  • understands what the basic rules are, but will usually not go outside the normal bounds when it comes to dealing with issues or “fixing” things
  • may not pay much attention to other renters in the organization
  • may be put off by owners or those who seek to become owners versus renters
  • might be looking for a way to reduce their investment in the company
  • looking only at the short term, not the long term
  • if not looking to become an owner, they may be unwilling to save up their capital for future investments either in your workplace or another

Owners in the workplace may look more like this:

  • always looking for ways to make the workplace increase in value
  • realize that there will always be renters willing to move in
  • seek out other owners as potential partners for the current or future situation
  • willing to put aside short term needs in order to save for long term investments
  • understand the concept of “sweat equity”
  • they are willing to do the unpopular or less visible roles in order to keep the house in order
  • looking for others who can help increase the value of the workplace

Gallup talks about employee engagement and uses the Q12 instrument to measure the amount of “ownership” one may have in the workplace.  The 12 questions from this assessment are shown below:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day
  4. In the last 7 days, I have received praise or recognition for doing good work
  5. My supervisory, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count
  8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work
  10. I have a best friend at work
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow

While these questions may seem simple at first glance, they get to a wide variety of issues that need to be discussed and used to drive tactical issues in every workplace.

Owners can answer yes to the overwhelming majority of these questions.  Having employees or staff members who cannot answer yes to the majority or more of these questions will develop a “renter” mentality, one that is short-sided and more inwardly focused versus being focused on the whole.

I’ll be back later this week to talk more about how renters can become owners, and also how to keep your owners on your team.

More to come-stay tuned.