I am currently sitting in our store with a few of the regular Magic: the Gathering players after Friday Night Magic. They are all playing a big multiplayer game and having a good time. I am sitting here listening and watching them, still dressed in a shirt and tie, even though the store is technically closed... Why?
Simple... they are our friends and customers, and they deserve the best store experience we can give them. I am part of that experience. They may not care how I am dressed, but I do, and I should have cared in the past. All I was doing by presenting myself as a slovenly gutter troll was hurting our business. So I decided to take an ownership interest in our OWN establishment.
I've always hated that phrase before now. In many jobs, I was "asked" to take an "ownership interest" in the business in which I worked. In the beginning, I was naive enough to do so. Then, one by one, each of those businesses would ask its employees to take such ownership interest and then turn around treat those employees like they didn't even matter in the equation. After a few years of this, whenever the next management drone would espouse this nonsense to myself or others, I was derisive and dismissive, and rightly so.
Whenever a low-level employee takes an ownership interest in a business, the only people to truly benefit are the actual OWNERS of the business. Those employees might see some sort of token raise or slight shift in authority, but in the end, they simply do not matter to most employers. Eventually, the employees catch on and get rightly upset. Upset employees tend to do their jobs poorly, if at all.
So to all business owners (myself included)... Do not ask an employee to take an ownership interest in YOUR business. Unless you are giving them actual ownership percentage in the business, you are just lying to them... Hmmm, perhaps lying is too strong of a word... How about "You are giving the employee false hope that what they think and do actually matter".
No, instead, you are the only person who should taking ownership interest in your business.
However, your employees DO matter, and I don't remember where I heard this phrase, and, in fact, I may have coined it myself some long, distant time ago...
"Treat your customers like gold, but treat your employees like platinum."
Why? Well, your customers are who help keep the doors open and the lights on with the purchasing of your useless goods with their worthless shekels. However, your employees help you do that, and the better you treat your employees, the better they should treat your customers. If they don't, then you are well within your rights to get new/different employees...