Companies navigate in an ever-changing landscape today. To succeed and ensure the company is still around tomorrow, they have to attract creative and highly motivated employees who come up with innovative new products and services. And, they need to build a corporate culture that supports a behaviour that was regarded as corporate “disobedience” not too many years ago.
Lack of human capital
There is a lack of people with certain backgrounds who are essential for building tomorrow´s digital driven products and services – such as developers, data analysts, growth hackers, etc. At the same time, employees who work in business units often lack the digital insight needed to come up with digitally oriented ideas. This combination results in a lack of the human capital needed to build the companies of tomorrow.
When we face a reality where there is a scarcity of human capital, a new approach is needed. Investors, boards and managers need to remember this when doing organizational planning and especially when designing the employee compensation schemes, I believe.
Young people want ownership
Millennials are well into their careers, and they treasure other values than Generation X and especially the Baby Boomer Generation. They are okay with blending their private and professional lives, they thrive in smaller environments and crave to work at smaller startups and take a fundamental part of contributing to building something new.
It seems young people are looking for more direct ownership to what they spend most of their awakening time on. And, they do not seem comfortable with the notion of “feeding” some unknown hidden investor base with what they work so hard on. Even TV ads use this analogy these days, over here in Norway.
Working with someone as opposed to for someone
I have always been very passionate about my job, and never afraid of putting in the extra effort. In 2004, I decided I wanted ownership to the products, services and companies that were created based on the work I put in.
Luckily I found a high growth tech company, where I got a middle management role and an option scheme that came with it. The devotion I gave the company was tightly knit to the fact that I was not only an employee, but also a shareholder. The difference is that I didn´t see it as I worked for a company, but rather that I worked with a company.
This made a huge difference for me – and the whole approach I had to my job changed fundamentally. I went from being an employee to becoming a company builder.
Human capital is scarce – financial capital is not
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a well known phrase in business. And, building a corporate culture positioned for success means different things today than it did before- most will agree with this, and are doing fundamental changes about it.
However, I have not yet registered fundamental changes in employee compensation schemes change towards an opening for more employee ownership in larger organizations.
I have no doubt in my mind that a culture of employees who have a direct ownership to what they create, is different and ultimately stronger, than one without direct employee ownership.
With corporate innovation happening everywhere these days, and a lot of big business putting a lot of effort to excel at it, I think it is only a matter of time before employees who work at everything from smaller startups to larger corporations, expect to get ownership to what they create.
The companies that will be here tomorrow, are the ones that not only give employees freedom to innovate, but also give them ownership to what they create.
It´s about time to support the fact that these days human capital is scarce, financial capital is not.