Employee Ownership Day: How to Get Staff Invested in The Company They Work For

Employee Ownership day will take place on 30 June 2017. The event is now in its fifth year, and it aims to raise awareness around Employee Ownership (EO), the economic benefits, and the impacts it has on the economy.

Employee Ownership Stock Plans means that employees own stock in the business they work for. Whether stock is given to employees at no cost by the owner, or employees buy a company from its original owner, it means that workers at every level have an ownership interest in the company and the drive to push for its success.

But employee ownership obviously isn’t something that every business can take up– making it happen is one of the biggest decisions a company will ever face. However, a business doesn’t have to be owned by its employees to have an ethos that puts its people first, to incentivise people to succeed, and to help individuals share in group success. In fact, there’s actually plenty of ways that you can get employees more invested in a business. Let’s take a look at some of our favourite methods.

Keep your company at the forefront of employees’ minds

Back in the days of a job for life, where people worked was arguably a much larger part of their identity than it is today. People change job more now – research has found people are likely to have had 4 jobs by the time they’re 32 – than they used to, with your actual job role probably forming a larger part of identity than the individual company that pays you to do it at that time.

Employee-owned companies can buck this trend – but ownership isn’t the only way to encourage people to identify more with the company they work for. Providing support through benefits and employee discounts gives people financial boosts that could easily exceed an employee ownership bonus.

And the best way to make those benefits and discounts really resonate? Branded prepaid debit cards that feature a company’s logo can really keep you at the forefront of employees’ minds every time they spend.

It works, too – research into brand recognition and promotional products have found that simply having your name on something really does create a connection between people and businesses. While this mostly focuses on consumers, the principle is the same for employees – you’re becoming a bigger part of their lives, so they associate these positive experiences of saving money with you, their employer. And we’re hooked on putting things on card in the UK, making more and more card payments every year – providing plenty of opportunities to connect with employees.

Help work and family fit together

If employers want to encourage their employees to become more invested in the business they work for, then the business itself needs to prove it is willing to invest in them – and their lives – by showing that they care about the things that their employees care about.

Family is an essential part of this – many working parents struggle to find enough time to spend with their families, and many also feel that their employers don’t really do enough to address the impact of long hours or inflexible working on their children.

There are many ways that employers can show that they care about their employees’ family lives, and plenty of steps to be taken to help encourage families to spend more time together.

Flexible working that allows parents to start and finish at a time that suits the school run, is becoming increasingly expected from employers, as is support through childcare vouchers. This means that employers have to do more to ensure they’re leading the way on including their employees’ families.

So, what can be done? Opening work events, such as the summer party, to family can be an excellent way to both reward staff and give them time to spend with the family. Better yet, plan a dedicated family day with a much more family-focused activity – anything from arts and crafts to petting zoos, sports days and film screenings could be the perfect event to get your employees’ families invested in you as an employer.

Remember remote workers

Remote working is consistently on the rise – with flexibility for families and more relaxed approach to the traditional office for millennials being among the reasons why.

Although many managers may be worried that unsupervised staff may be more inclined to procrastinate (and maybe just switch on the TV for a bit…), both anecdotal evidence and research studies have found that remote working can lead to happier and much more productive workers thanks to the control home working gives people over their lives.

But there are downsides, too. Remote workers can all-too-easily be forgotten – out of sight, out of mind – and it can be difficult to ensure that everyone is treated the same when their working styles are so different.

In order to keep remote workers invested in the company, rather than feeling more like freelancers, they need to be kept involved. Not over-monitored, of course, as that takes some of the edge off of the freedom that remote working provides. But consistent recognition and reward, equal to what your in-house teams will see, is essential for keeping the company at the forefront of home worker’s minds.

Keeping remote workers involved with the social side of work can be difficult. Make sure that employee events are planned to include remote workers, and that they’re consulted to see if they’re available for after-work festivities, rather than just assuming they’ll be able to make it in. As for the day-to-day stuff, encouraging the use of messaging services like Slack can be very helpful – particularly if you turn a bit of a blind eye to the occasional personal message.

Promote a good work/life balance

What does it mean to be truly invested in a company? Some might say that employees who are the most invested in a company’s success are the ones staying late in the evenings, putting in extra hours to make sure deadlines are met.

But that’s probably not the case. In fact, people who work too much – and particularly those who feel obligated to do so – are more likely to feel resentful of their employers.

Employee Ownership Day falls at the end of June – a time when days are longer and employees are either itching to get out of work to enjoy the lingering daylight, or are working late without the usual prompt of it getting dark outside to remind them to head home.

Promoting a better work/life balance among employees is essential to keeping them invested in the company they work for – once again, it all comes back to investing in them to encourage them to invest in you.

We’ve already discussed some methods for promoting a positive work/life balance, such as support with childcare, family time and staff discounts. But an employer that really inspires the best in its employees is one that goes a bit further in creating opportunities for employees to get away from work.

Incentive travel is definitely one of the most exciting things an employer can do for its employees – whether it’s planning a weekend getaway as a staff retreat, or offering a full-blown holiday as a reward for top performers.

Themed seasonal rewards

The end of June is the perfect time to consider rewards specifically designed for the summer. While prepaid cards are an excellent way to reward all-year round, employees who become used to having the card in their wallets will eventually just see it as part of their day-to-day life. And while that’s an absolutely fantastic place for you to be as an employer, it does mean you do have to do more to make sure engagement remains high and that people are consistently being delighted.

So, what makes the best-themed reward for the summer time? Travel will obviously always be popular at this time of year, but don’t forget popular summer activities closer to home, whether that’s days out to theme parks and attractions, or projects such as DIY and gardening – helping your employees with discounts or gift cards that make these more affordable for these could make fantastic seasonal rewards.

Find out more and get involved

If you’d like to find out more about employee ownership, then pay a visit to the Employee Ownership Association – and pay particularly close attention on Employee Ownership Day itself on 30 June.

And if you have any questions about any of the employee engagement techniques we’ve discussed here, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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