Employees don’t join an organization with the intent of being average, yet some can so quickly be converted. Why? To answer this I’ll share with you an analogy.
Several years ago I was driving with a friend, off in the distance was a sign that said, "Slow down speed bump." So what does she do? She steps on the gas and goes flying over the speed bump. A move like this could destroy a car. She sees my look of terror and says, “Don’t worry; I don’t own the car I’m just renting it.”
This mindset is also penetrating many workplaces. Just renting, this cavalier attitude is also a deep rooted perspective of the employee who is content to be average. Consider this - do you have employees who don’t really own the job instead are just renting their time out to the company? Do employees belong to your organization or are they just working there? Look out- like a bad infection, workplace complacency spreads. Alongside low commitment morale will plummet. As a guest motivational speaker, I see that the most motivated, committed employees show up at a convention.
The Rental Perspective
Consider the attitude of someone who is renting an apartment. Likely content to live in average surroundings, they aren’t going to spend a lot of time, effort, energy or resources fixing the place up. Why would they? They are just renting.
This rental perspective has two dimensions:
1) It's short term; basically to the end of the contract or lease agreement (or even shorter).
2) It entails low commitment. People who are renting aren't willing to invest a lot of time, effort, energy or resources within that short term contract
This attitude is very relevant in the workplace. Here are a few ways to identify the rental perspective in your workplace.
Employees Who Are Renting Their Time
- Don’t buy into or belong to the organization, decreasing employee morale. They don’t know or care about the organization's mission, vision, or values.
- They have a short term limited perspective which causes stress.
- They aren’t willing to invest a lot of extra energy in their work even if it’s required.
- They show limited involvement. They grudgingly campaign against hard work using conflict.
RENT to OWN
If you wanted to move from renting to owning an apartment, what would you do? You would have to invest time, effort, energy and resources (money) into buying a place and making it home.
What it boils down to is those employees who rent their time just don’t have much invested in their work. You need to get them to move from renting their time to you to owning their job and their place in the organization.
Interpersonal Skills to Increase Employee Morale and Commitment
- Insist employees “belong” to the organization by helping them buy into and understand the organization's mission, vision and values. Show them how their contribution affects the team and the whole organization.
- Involve, Involve, Involve. Insist low commitment employees invest time, energy, and effort into the job. Send them to professional development events, give them “projects” and reward them for specific contributions outside of the job description.
- Increase their perspective. Help them see beyond the day to day job. Ask them where do them see themselves 10 years from now or how will you positively impact their profession, so that you leave it a better place. Also have a clear employee development/succession plan.
- Ask employees to present a seminar at an industry conference. Being a conference speaker builds credibility, confidence, and is inspiration for long term commitment.
If employees still won’t show initiative and involvement, cut your losses and let them go.
There is a saying that says ,"Build it and they will come." If you build inspiration and a great work environment and offer people the opportunity to own that experience, you will be an employer of choice!