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Rent to Own...How to Increase Job Commitment

September 25, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: CPHR Manitoba


As featured in the Fall 2017 issue of HRmatters


Authored by: Jody Urquhart - a funny motivational speaker and the author of the bestselling book, All Work & No Say.


See Jody’s Opening Keynote at the HR & Leadership Conference on October 30! 

Click here to register!


Employees don’t typically join an organization with the intent of being average, yet some are quickly converted. Why? I’ll share a personal experience that explains how that happens.


Several years ago I was riding with a friend, when we saw in the distance a sign that said, Slow Down-Speed Bump. What did she do? She stepped on the gas and just flew over the speed bump, a move that can destroy a car. She saw my look of terror and reassured me, “Don’t worry! I don’t own the car - I’m just renting it.”


Just renting.  Have you ever rented a place to live? Chances are good that if you are a conscientious person, you took care of the property, trying not to damage it or leave it worse than you found it . . . but, by the same token, chances are good that even as a conscientious individual, little effort was put into making it better.  Chances are good that you didn’t modernize the place or add decorative trim. Chances are good that you did what you needed to do in order to have an adequate place to live – period. After all, you didn’t own the place.


The rental mindset is also percolating in most workplaces. That cavalier attitude is also reflective of the employee who is content to be average. I’m just renting, so it doesn’t matter if I dazzle you.  Consider this: do you have employees who don’t really own their jobs, but are renting their time out to the company? Do employees belong to your organization or are they just working there? Look out!  Like bad infections, workplace complacency spreads. Alongside low commitment, morale will plummet. This rental perspective has two dimensions:


The Rental Perspective


1) Rental is short term, usually to the end of the contract or lease agreement.

2) Rental entails low commitment. People who are renting are not willing to invest time, effort, energy or resources within that short-term contract.


The rental attitude is very relevant to and prevalent in the workplace. There are good indicators of the rental perspective in your workplace. Employees who are renting their time:


Don’t know or care about the organization’s mission, vision, or values

Have a short-term limited vision of the company and their role in it, which causes stress

Aren’t willing to invest extra energy in their work, even when it’s necessary

Don’t feel themselves to be part of the whole, but feel powerless

Demonstrate limited involvement, campaign against anything beyond minimal effort, and create conflict in order to feel the power they don’t find in their work




If you wanted to move from renting to owning an apartment, what would you do? You would have to invest time, effort, energy and resources (money) into buying a place, then working to make it home. Likewise, to move employees to a more productive and satisfying level in their work, you need to get them to move from renting their time to you to owning their jobs. This is a difficult but rewarding exercise, increasing the productivity and morale of your employees and your organization overall. Where to begin?


Insist employees “belong” to the organization by helping them buy into and understand the organization’s mission, vision and values. 

Show them how their contributions affect the team, and the whole organization; explain their particular value to the company.

Allow your employees autonomy in their work – and hold them accountable for their results. They must understand that what they do matters.

Involve, Involve, Involve. Insist low commitment employees invest time, energy, and effort into their jobs. Send them to professional development events, give them project leadership duties, and reward them for specific contributions outside of the job description.

Enlarge their job perspectives. Help them see beyond the day to day job. Ask, where do you see yourself 10 years from now? Or how will you positively impact your profession so that you leave it a better place? 

Maintain a clear employee development/ succession plan.

Ask employees to present at a company meeting, a seminar, or an industry conference. Being a conference speaker builds credibility and confidence, and inspires deeper commitment.


If some employees do not respond and still won’t show initiative and involvement,  cut your losses and let them go. Your organization and your team members deserve better.


There is a saying “Build it and they will come.”  If you build a great work environment and offer people the opportunity to own that experience, you will be an employer of choice!


Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Manitoba (CPHR Manitoba)
1810-275 Portage Avenue / Winnipeg, Manitoba / R3B 2B3
tel. 204.943.2836 / fax. 204.943.1109 / email.

For additional information please visit: CPHR.CA

People Leading Business.™