Employee Productivity, Part 1
“Well, I get up at seven, yeah, and I go to work at nine.
I got no time for living, yes, I’m working all the time.
It seems to me I could live my life, a lot better than I think I am.
I guess that’s why they call me, they call me the workin’ man.” -Rush
Employee engagement. Quality circles. Culture paradigms. Open-door policies.
Organizations everywhere have implemented these, plus untold other strategies and practices, in attempts to boost employee productivity. Each is seeking the magic bullet, the secret sauce, the hidden trap door to wringing just a bit more out of its labor force.
Be serious. Will any of these approaches matter to the poor guy Rush sang about in “Working Man,” its seminal paeon to stressed-out employees everywhere? Will they really get him to expend that last bit of extra effort?
Here’s one that just might: Knowing a direct, tangible link exists between his employer’s bottom line and his own financial well-being. Or, to use a common metaphor, having “skin in the game.”
Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) create this link. Thousands of American companies use ESOPs to boost both productivity and profitability.
Why do workers respond?
The logic is simple: Employees who have literal ownership in an organization (via stock) work harder to ensure its success. While ESOPs are often viewed as an exit strategy, they offer a sound, proven plan to increase worker productivity – and businesses’ margins – regardless of when they’re implemented.
How else can companies increase profitability? Cost control (and cutting) can only go so far. Raising prices risks alienating customers. Changing raw materials, or service delivery models, can endanger quality.
For most businesses, employee productivity is the last lever to higher margins. It’s the “what” of the equation. The ever-elusive part is “how.”
An army of consultants, authors, trainers and speakers has sprung up to advise employers on getting maximum productivity from workers. Many offer varied takes on the same general theme: Make employees feel they’re valued, and contributing to an organization with a clearly-defined direction and purpose.
Yet, if your workforce feels overworked and underappreciated – again, as described by our favorite Canadian power trio – pats on the back and “atta boys” only go so far.
The real deal
The concept of “skin in the game” is real, and powerful, and immensely motivational. ESOPs provide it, along with a lift in morale that comes with knowing your employer values your work so highly … that they sold you part of the company.
Considering an ESOP? Contact Excel Legacy Group to learn more about the potential benefits for your organization.
Our next post will further examine the employee productivity progression. Among all the qualities that make ESOPs a smart bet, it’s one certainly worth singing about.