As we partner with organisations around the world, employee engagement is a frequent and relevant topic. We find distinct variations in engagement from the different generational audiences. A common desire attributed most prevalently to Millennials is the notion of employee satisfaction. “If you don’t satisfy me, then I will go!” It’s a constant challenge with a pricey turnover impact. How do leaders counteract this expectation of ongoing satisfaction with healthy engagement? 

One method we’ve found effective in changing this ‘satisfaction-demand’ perspective is to explain and encourage the idea of owning a job versus renting it.  

The idea is simple. Imagine how you feel when you rent a car, and the minimal emotional connection to that vehicle. A little sand inside from a trip to the beach? Eh, not a big deal. A tiny ding from a shopping cart in the parking lot (car park?)? No worries; it’s going back in a day or two. A little rough on the brakes or transmission? Not really my problem.  

And then there’s YOUR car. The one you dreamed about, saved for, and went and signed the papers on your own. The treatment is so different from that rental: you keep it clean, you park a little further away from other cars even if it means walking a bit more, and you make sure every service happens on time. It’s your investment, something you want to last, and to be reliable for time to come.  

How do you treat your job? Are you just ‘renting’ it, or do you OWN it? Do you invest in it, take responsibility for it, and give your role the best of you?  

Truly owning your role reflects the highest level of engagement. Helping employees feel invested and connected to something where they feel responsible builds increasing ownership and engagement.  


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