January brings another batch of resolutions. Most, alas, will be long forgotten by the end of first quarter. Because you want to make more of your investment in ESOP ownership and engage your employees as owners, why not resolve to use the SMART process to achieve your ownership-development goals in 2016?
SMART, as you may know, stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Here’s how you can be SMARTer and make more of employee ownership this year.
S= Specific. What do you want to accomplish with your ESOP? What level of understanding and engagement do you want from employees? What attitudes, behaviors and actions would you like employee-owners to display in their daily jobs? Write down specifics that you want to see happen.
M=Measurable. How will you track progress? There are two possible ways to measure your ownership-engagement effort: one, build a list of specific things you’d like to accomplish and monitor whether they occur; second, implement a survey to set a baseline. It can be an in-depth tool or a short questionnaire via an on-line platform. Repeat the same survey at year end to determine the progress you’ve made.
A=Attainable. Are your ownership-development goals realistic and within the control of the person or team assigned to accomplish them? If, for instance, you’d like to use your ESOP as a recruitment and retention tool, the goal of 100% retention, of course, is unrealistic and unattainable. But a 10% increase in retention, or another measurable target, may be attainable.
R= Relevant. Because developing an ownership culture and more employee engagement are keys to your business’ success, you’ve got to insure the actions you take are relevant to achieving those objections. An ESOP Communications Committee, for instance, needs to plan and implement both educational and team-building activities. If it invests the majority of its time doing events, it will be labeled the “party” committee and lose credibility with its peers. In terms of recruitment, is your message relevant to the people you’re trying to hire? Do your recruitment and orientation materials highlight your ESOP’s benefits to differentiate your company from a competitor without an ESOP?
T=Time Bound. What’s the time frame for achieving ownership-related goals? Given ownership is a long-term, retirement benefit, you, naturally, have the overall objective of a higher stock value. Because it’s easy for long-range goals to fall off the radar when faced with the daily challenges of serving customers and growing the business, you’ll need to establish short-term goals and measures. Put deadlines on them to evaluate progress and redirect your energy to keep the effort on track.
Blue Ridge ESOP Associates can help you build a SMART ownership-culture development strategy to utilize your ESOP as a recruitment, retention and employee-engagement tool. If you’re interested in making more of your ESOP plan, please contact a member of our Business Development Team - 434-979-5500.