It’s Time for Your Employees to Own This Shit

5staremployees all in business owner entrepreneur hiring recruitment retention strategies Oct 19, 2022

The goal for most business owners is to reach the point of success that allows them more free time. Having extra free time means more projects, another business venture, a vacation with the family, more golfing… you get the idea.

You started this business because you wanted to be the boss, but do you wonder if your employees and your business can remain successful without your constant presence?

Leaving your business in your employees’ hands might feel like leaving your newborn for the first time with a babysitter. Do they know how to care for it? Will they watch it carefully enough?

It’s easy to worry, but there is a way to change this.

Your 5-Star employees already create a more productive and efficient workplace, but there’s more to success than obtaining your Dream Team.

You need to let your Dream Team to step up and take responsibility within your organization. You need to transfer ownership. You need to let your employees own this shit!       

There is so much value in transferring ownership to your employees.

Ownership implies a sense of possession, which will make employees feel like they’ve got skin in the game. They will come into work and take charge, making sure whatever they ‘own’ is running smoothly and working in unison with the rest of their team.

Transferring ownership will also motivate your employees. 5-Star Employees want to be involved in their organization’s success, but they may not know how to get involved. If their leader transfers the ownership of certain operations to them, they’ll feel much more involved and become even more passionate about the work they do.

Transferring ownership to your employees will take your business to the next level while granting you more freedom as the business owner. Once you see that your people have taken ownership and care about your business and its success, you’ll feel much more confident. 

Let’s talk about how to transfer ownership.

You can’t deem a random employee ‘the owner of the copy room’ and call it a day; strategy is everything. Your transfers must be thoughtful and deliberate. You need to have a sense of who wants to own what.

How many of you are Mike Michalowicz fans? You know we are (we never shut up about the guy)!

There’s a great Mike Michalowicz story about transferring ownership— the how, the why, and the ultimate success of this process— that’s sure to inspire you. So, read on! We’re going ALL IN on transferring ownership.

Have you ever been stuck in a risky business venture wishing for a solution? Do you ever wish your employees would step up and become the muscle your organization needs? Do you have a sticky drink fountain just dying for a makeover?  

Stephen was the owner of a barbecue restaurant in Hunt, Texas. He was new to the restaurant game, which was a risky venture by itself and made getting established even more difficult.

Entrepreneurs know if there’s one industry that’s difficult to achieve and maintain maximum success, it’s restaurants.

From day one, Stephen noticed his restaurant was struggling. Some of the problems were obvious: a deficiency in customers, lack of experience in the restaurant industry… but there was a big problem with employee habits.

Staff wasn’t in this game to make the restaurant great; they weren’t exactly looking for careers in barbecue restaurants. On a typical day, most employees preformed at a bare minimum— just enough to receive a paycheck each week.

There wasn’t much work-related camaraderie, the company culture wasn’t engaging, and the whole restaurant lacked passion. This meant many tasks were left incomplete and the state of the restaurant was far from where it needed to be.

Stephen grew worried for the restaurant’s future, until one day when he was approached by a busboy named Jimmy…

Jimmy wanted to talk to Stephen about the state of the restaurant’s drink fountain. Stephen had just examined the drink fountain area; it was stained and sticky from days of unwiped spillage, straw wrappers were tossed anywhere but in the garbage, even the staff would avoid getting drinks from it. This was a problem area for sure.

Jimmy asked Stephen if he could ‘own’ the drink fountain.

To Stephen, owning the drink fountain not only meant cleaning it, but constantly maintaining the cleanliness and proper function of the entire area.

Of course, Stephen liked this idea, so he gave Jimmy his approval.  Every day from then on, the drink fountain was spotless. Jimmy took care of the drink fountain like it was his own, and it quickly became the best-kept area of the restaurant.

Stephen realized that transferring ownership to his employees would engage them further and finally get them excited about working in the restaurant. Jimmy had become a more dedicated worker, which turned Stephen into a more dedicated leader.

The newly motivated restaurant leader went ALL IN with his transfer of ownership, taking the creative liberty to label the machine with a sign that read: Jimmy’s Drink Fountain.

Shortly after the success of Jimmy and his drink fountain, one of the restaurant’s cashiers named Sheila approached Stephen in the hopes of owning another part of the restaurant: the inventory room.

Things had changed for the better after Jimmy’s Drink Fountain, so Stephen became more deliberate in this process and encouraged Sheila to take ownership. 

After the transfer of ownership, Sheila didn’t just own the inventory room; she owned the entire inventory process. This included maintaining cleanliness and keeping an updated record of the restaurant’s inventory. But Sheila didn’t stop there. She also learned how to effectively manage inventory— how to not overstock, how to save money by acquiring more seasonal produce, she even learned about COVID distribution trends.

Sheila began educating the staff on everything she learned, going so far as to explain to the other cashiers why certain menu items were priced higher than usual. With this information, cashiers could more accurately answer customer’s questions about pricing, which created a welcoming and helpful customer-cashier community within the restaurant.

Sheila put her ownership to use by increasing knowledge and productivity amongst the whole team.

The ownership transfers didn’t stop there.

Remember Jimmy the busboy? He also took ownership of the restaurant’s back porch, which generated 20% of their revenue. Jimmy was meticulous about the way the back porch was run, and thus another successful transfer of ownership helped the restaurant to grow.

Stephen once again labeled the area Jimmy’s Back Porch to highlight the positive outcomes the restaurant experienced when transferring ownership to employees. 

Stephen’s barbecue restaurant transformed from a subpar business lacking passionate employees to a powerhouse of productivity where employees finally gave a shit because they owned their shit. The combination of employees stepping up and Stephen supporting them with creative recognition was a recipe for success. 

As you have read, Stephen cracked the code on motivating employees to get involved and become more passionate about their place of work. He discovered ownership is different than accountability or responsibility. Neither accountability nor responsibility can give the sense of possession ownership yields.

This story is a great example of a struggling business owner who changed his luck around by phasing a new and engaging retention process into his restaurant, but it wasn’t just the process that generated such success for Stephen. Remember what I said about being deliberate and careful in your ownership transfers? You better!

Every time one of the restaurant’s employees would inquire about owning an aspect of the business, Stephen would give his approval, make sure they were taking the ownership seriously, and then label whatever area of the restaurant they had taken over with their name (Jimmy’s Drink Fountain, Sheila’s Inventory Room).

Not only do business owners need to apply these tactics with their staff, but they need to be creative in their actions. Your 5-Star Employees want to see your support. They don’t find creative endeavors from their leader corny; showing your staff you care enough to whip up a sign for whoever owns the copy room will further motivate them to own the freaking copy room!

We encourage you to go ALL IN on your employees. Transfer the ownership of the front desk, the supply closet, the walk-in cooler… and let your employees own this shit!