Why Don’t My Employees Care About My Business Like I Do?

Have you ever heard a CEO or business owner talk about the importance of an, “ownership mentality” for their employees?...
5 min read

Have you ever heard a CEO or business owner talk about the importance of an, “ownership mentality” for their employees? Typically the speech talks about the importance of showing up to work with the mindset that you are an owner of the business. After all, if everyone had an ownership mentality, we would reach all of our goals. Maybe you’ve given this speech to your employees, or at least dreamt of giving it.

This never works. Ever.

For starters, your people don’t own your business. You do. Expecting your employees to have your business at the top of their priority list is similar to me asking my kids to be passionate about building my bank account. Sure, the kids benefit from my money, but at the end of the day it’s still mine. I can’t fault them for having other things on their mind besides the things that make my life better.

Your business is your life, and your life is your business. These two things will always be intertwined for you. (If you’d like to talk about setting boundaries in your work/personal life – click here.) Your employees don’t feel the same way. This might blow your mind – but they have their own lives, goals, and agendas that existed long before you decided to start or assume responsibility for your business. You might be thinking about the work you need to get done on the weekend, while they are most likely thinking about how they can spend 48 hours as far away from work as possible.

Additionally, your employees are feeling the wealth and power gap. Most people who have been surveyed in various work satisfaction studies admit that they believe their boss is getting the money while the employee is doing the work. Employees see your car, your house, your vacations, and they probably resent you for it. They can’t fire you, but you can fire them. You can take vacation whenever you want, but you can stop them from taking their vacation.

Finally, your employees are not your family and not always your friends. Of course we should be friendly, but at the end of the day they probably aren’t bringing you a birthday cake once the paychecks stop.

Not family. Not friends. Employees.

Ok – deep breath! If you are a business owner this might feel a bit defeating. What in the world are we supposed to do to get people to care? The good news is that you can create a culture where people care. The even better news is that improving your leadership is the key.

There are many reasons why people don’t care as much as you want them to – but they can all be boiled down to this question:

Do your people believe that you care about them?

Like I said previously – you can’t expect people to have an ownership mentality just because you want them to. What you can expect is that people will care about you and your business if you are demonstrating care for them.

Here are a few ways that you can proactively demonstrate that care:

  1. Show them the benefit: Your people can see that your goals are important to you, but why should they care? Is there any benefit to your employees if they help you reach their goals? If your only answer is, “a paycheck”, then nothing will change.
  2. Let them contribute: Simple things like asking their opinions, thanking them for effort (even when they don’t hit the goal), and acknowledging their contribution will go a long way to creating the belief that you care.
  3. Treat them like people: Do you know your employees? What are their goals and dreams? How many kids do they have? When is their birthday? Your company might be too big to know this for everyone, but you can still make sure someone knows this for every employee. That’s how you create culture.
  4. Show them opportunity for growth: Do your people see the long-term benefit of working for you? Many employees feel that the harder they work the richer you’ll get while their paycheck stays the same. Have you developed some sort of incentive plan that shares profit with your employees?

This is just a starter list, but hopefully it primes the pump for you. I know that looking in the mirror is hard and requires humility, but this might be a good time to really explore this principle:

I can’t ask them to care about the business more than I care about them.

If you’d like to talk more about changing culture or supporting your employees, you can connect with us at bredmond@fivecapitals.net