So often executives in the public sector talk about "holding people accountable" - do what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it. It's a simple mindset. In actuality, accountability culture is relatively easy to create. Reward when employees deliver what they said they were going to, when they said they would, and do the opposite when they fail to. The reality is, most public sector employers do neither - there's no substantial upside and there's rarely appreciable downside.
What we urge organizations to focus on is creating a culture of ownership - where employees are internally inspired to deliver. As Barry McCarthy writes "a true 'ownership culture' is created where employees feel a substantial, personal stake in the company's performance. It creates a situation in which behavior is guided more by values than by rules.”
Here are the key factors in establishing an environment where employees will embrace this culture of ownership.
1. Be Clear on What Organizational Success Is --- your Board, your management team and you need to know what success looks like…Quantifiably! And so do your employees. So, define it and tell everyone…twice…maybe 19 times.
2. Ensure Your Employees Know How They Contribute --- a key employee engagement question TransPro asks is "I know what success looks like for my organization and how I contribute to that success". It's also one of our core TransPro values. People take ownership if they know how their work matters.
3. Frequent Feedback --- we employ a Start, Stop, Continue quarterly feedback process. Start doing this, Stop doing that, and Continue doing these.
4. Metrics Matter --- quantifiable, objective ways to measure the employee's participation and how it directly contributes to team goals and organizational success.
5. Values --- the spirit of achieving results matter. In a culture that is all about following rules and policies, it sure is challenging to inspire an employee to demonstrate some judgment. If we mean we want a culture of innovation, maybe we shouldn't have a 625-page employee handbook describing everything that might go wrong.
6. Compensation --- directly connecting compensation (both salary and incentive-based compensation) to the objective realization of metrics and the subjective pursuit of organizational values inspires employees to deliver for themselves, for their colleagues, and for their families. Do great things at work and it directly impacts your kitchen table.
Creating a culture of ownership takes hard work at the executive table, taking risks and building systems to support the environment you want passionate employees to enjoy. For our clients we measure e-NPS - the Employee Net Promoter Score - where we ask employees on a scale of 1 to 10 how likely they would be to recommend their organization to family and friends as a place to work. Organizations that effectively create a culture of ownership have a much higher likelihood to have a high e-NPS and truly become an employer of choice.