Cultivate employee participation with the STALL strategy

Stock options and profit-sharing plans aren’t the only way to give workers a sense of real ownership in your organization. 

To help workers feel actively committed to success, base your strategy on the acronym STALL:

S: Share information. Financial information is crucial, of course. Employees will question whether they’re really participating if information on revenues and expenses is kept secret. But operational information is just as vital. Employees should understand how one person’s work affects others in the organization—the domino effect. Other information to share: strategies, successes (especially employee success stories), setbacks, and internal and external pressures.

T: Teach. Employees may not be aware of everything they need to know about company operations. Explain what the numbers on your financial reports mean, and show how their efforts affect budgets and revenues in different areas.

A: Ask. Ask for your workforce’s full participation. If trust is high between management and workers, your organization probably has high levels of participation already. If not, start with small steps—for instance, ask a task force to offer suggestions on how to improve operations.

L: Listen. To foster a sense of ownership, you must commit yourself to being open to new ideas from unexpected sources. Encourage employees to come to you with their ideas, and reward them for putting forth the effort to do so.

L: Learn. Talk to your staff and learn who the most influential employees are, who the “squeaky wheels” are, and how you can bring them on board.

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