Treat Employees Like Business Owners, do it basic, simple and straightforward.

Treat Employees Like Business Owners, do it basic, simple and straightforward.

The rest is boredom and noise, keep it far away

Employee loyalty and engagement are hot topics, and for good reason. Companies want to attract and retain talented people who really dig into their work. But most employers ignore two of the most powerful tools for making that happen.

MALTAWAY Board Governance and Business Advisory, a different WAY from Malta

Tool #1 is enabling employees to build real ownership in the business.

Of course, many public corporations offer stock-purchase plans or the like as part of their retirement benefit. And everyone knows about the options collected by a select few in Silicon Valley and other tech centers. But meaningful ownership — sizable grants of stock to rank-and-file employees year after year, to help them acquire a significant stake in the company — is all too rare.

It doesn’t have to be. Many large corporations manage to find big bundles of shares (and huge amounts of cash) for executive compensation, even though there’s little relationship between senior-management pay and financial results. A portion of those assets can be redirected to regular stock grants for employees. And companies — except for the very smallest — can implement an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), often funded through borrowing. So long as it’s sufficiently generous, either approach gives employees the kind of stake that makes them feel like true owners.

Just look at the supermarket industry to see such ownership in action. H-E-B, the big Texas-based chain, recently announced that it would give up to 15% of company shares over time to 55,000 of its employees, distributed according to a formula based on salary and seniority. That’s a chunk of stock estimated at more than $1 billion. Publix, a large chain headquartered in Florida, is majority owned by its employees and regularly makes the annual “best companies to work for” lists. And there’s WinCo, a grocery retailer based in Boise, Idaho, with 14,000 employees and 86 stores spread across eight western states. Every WinCo employee is an owner. Cathy Burch, who has worked there for 20-some years as an hourly employee, now has close to $1 million in her retirement account.

You don’t think that kind of generosity builds commitment and passion? “We work our tails off,” an employee with 28 years at WinCo told Forbes. “We’re more of a team than just working for a typical company. There’s a carrot out there you’re working for, for the rest of your life.”

Tool #2 goes by different names: open-book management, economic transparency, ownership culture. Whatever you call it, it means encouraging employees to think and act like businesspeople rather than like hired hands.

If you work for a conventional organization, your job is to show up at the appointed time and perform certain tasks. At open-book companies, it’s part of everyone’s job to contribute to the success of the business. Managers help employees understand, track, and forecast key numbers. They welcome ideas for improvement. They reinforce the ownership mindset by sharing profit increases with everyone, usually through bonuses funded by the increase itself. Many of these businesses also have a stock plan in place.

The approach is easiest to understand in a small company. The Paris Creperie, a Boston-area restaurant that’s about the size of a McDonald’s outlet, recently adopted open-book management. Creperie employees learned the basics of the restaurant business, including determinants of profit such as cost of goods sold (COGS). Then, last summer, they launched an initiative to reduce COGS, cutting food waste, reconfiguring some dishes, and coming up with ways to operate more efficiently. COGS dropped from roughly 30% of revenue to 26.5% over a four-week period, and continued to hold in the mid-20s. Operating profit rose by more than 10 percentage points in just four months and has stayed in the 18% to 20% range, compared with a restaurant-industry average of less than 4%.

This year, employees there are on track to get bonuses averaging $6,000. “Any other restaurant, I would just be scraping by,” shift supervisor Amanda Norton told theBoston Globe. “Seeing those bonuses really helps me breathe easier, knowing that it’s not the end of the world when I have to pay bills.”

You can imagine what all this does for employee loyalty and commitment. “Actually,” says Harvard Business School professor Leonard A. Schlesinger, “when employees know more about the business and have an economic stake in the outcome, there’s a high probability that turnover rates would go down exponentially.”

These tools also address two fundamental challenges of today’s free-enterprise system. An ownership nest egg helps mitigate inequality by putting more money in the hands of rank-and-file employees. And open-book management teaches people the basics of business, so they can thrive when they have to change jobs, as most inevitably will in our fast-changing economy. “People are learning what it means to run a business,” says Joe Grafton, a consultant who works with the Creperie. “That’s something they can take with them as they move forward with their careers.”

Both measures give people a stake in the system and the wherewithal to live a more secure life. A company that puts these tools to work helps its community while helping itself.

https://hbr.org/2015/12/treat-employees-like-business-owners

MALTA skilled workers, what’s next

Visa programmes to attract skilled workers?

MALTAway for your Board Members and Governance

To compete in a global market Malta has to compete on the skilled workers as well, rewarding them to move here, taxation is just a way

The KPMG’s biennial financial services conference questions ‘what’s next?’ for Malta’s financial services industry

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The financial services industry is finding it hard to recruit skilled workers because Malta’s education is preparing “robots” and not independent thinkers, speakers taking part in a financial services conference said today.

In a day-conference at the Hilton organised by audit firm KPMG Malta, senior partner Tonio Zarb said Malta had to work harder to reach the level of sophistication of other countries in the financial services sector.

“One way of doing this is to import expertise. Innovation is closely tight to education and we need to encourage a change in our education system to produce independent thinkers, and not robots,” Zarb said.

Malta Financial Services Authority chairman Joe Bannister drew attention to the fact that, despite the complaints of the industry, very few came forward to help with training prospective workers.

He explained how last year, only 90 placements were granted down from a 120 the previous year. Bannister went on to state that students were attracted to the financial services industry because of the high salaries. He went on to warn of risks of creating a wage inflation.

One way of bridging the gap resulting from skills shortage was through the setting up of visas programmes, such as those employed by the United Kingdom, FinanceMalta chairman Kenneth Farrugia said.

The UK brought in a 20,700-a-year cap on skilled workers from outside the EU in 2011.

KPMG partner Juanita Bencini went on to suggest that the solution could be closer to home: increase female participation. 60% of University graduates are women but less than half of the full-time working population are women.

“We have to tackle the defeminisation of the workforce and we [financial services sector] should be at the centre of increasing female participation.

It’s also translated into how employers look at it,” Bencini said.

“There is a huge mismatch between what the industry wants and what comes out of university. We have not shown enough courage to ensure that this talent doesn’t drop off and we cannot afford to have them disappear of the face of the earth.”

Bencini added that what the government did with the universal provision of free childcare centres had helped a lot but the private sector needed to do something different too.

“Can we see our males working four days a week? We really need to start thinking to ensure female participation is there and this will make the industry grow,” she said.

Labour MP Charles Mangion also highlighted the country’s stability as a key attraction to investors. He noted, that the cross-party consensus that existed for years allowed the sector to flourish.

The financial services sector contributes some 12% to the country’s GDP.

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/business/business_news/59845/financemalta_chair_suggests_visa_programmes_to_attract_skilled_workers#.Vl7N8nYvfIW

Yellen a revolutionary Fed chair. She wants labor to get a fairer share of the fruits of the economy’s productivity

Yellen a revolutionary Fed chair. She wants labor to get a fairer share of the fruits of the economy’s productivity
She is forcing the financial markets to rethink assumptions that have dominated economic thinking,arguing that fast-rising wages, viewed for decades as an inflationary red flag and a reason to hike rates, should instead be welcomed, at least for now

Pattern of subdued real wage gains suggests that nominal compensation could rise more quickly without exerting any meaningful upward pressure on inflation

In fact, real wages have been rising less rapidly than productivity growth and what we’ve seen is a shift in the distribution of national income away from labor and toward capital