The principle of owning vs. renting is powerful especially when it comes to an employee’s job.  Ownership of a job is a fickle thing.  Yet, I have worked for managers who assigned responsibility and provided enough autonomy to allow me to excel in my role.  The younger generations seem to relish this approach even more than my Gen X group.

ManageSmarter.com offers up an article with a clear title – Padlocking the Revolving Door on Turnover.  There are 4 good points to support the article’s title, but one stands out clearly:

• Foster a sense of ownership within employees. The old encouragement to “act like you own it” is good advice. The challenge is making the adage practical. It is difficult to build a sense of ownership when the plans, activities, and details are dictated to you. Managers need to find ways to actively engage employees in contributing ideas to plans, activities and outcomes. The more employees share in the rewards of success and are supported in turning failures into learning and growth opportunities, the more they can build a sense of ownership for their projects and become fully engaged in providing successful outcomes consistently.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this approach.  Few employees, though there are some, want to work under dictatorial management.  The key point I see in this ownership approach is that it provides a path to growth for the employee.  Gen Y craves this career track as have the generations that preceded them.  The difference is that many Gen Y employees will simply leave the company to gain more skills at a different employer.

This fact leads back to the premise that people tend to remain in place when they own while they have a tendency to move around more when they rent.  Keep that in mind as you develop your team in hopes of greater retention.

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