Brad Johnson’s main goal is to make his employees feel like owners of his company – even if they don’t own a single share of stock and he could fire all of them tomorrow.
That’s because the owner of Lawn America in Tulsa, Oklahoma knows that workers who feel that they have an ownership stake are more likely to provide stellar service.
“So often in the lawn and landscape industry, it’s all about paying employees as little as you can to make a profit,” he says. “My attitude is the opposite: ‘What’s the most I can pay my guys, make a fair profit for me, grow the company and have viable enterprise?’”
Johnson has fostered an ownership culture at Lawn America by giving every employee the opportunity to make tens of thousands of dollars in bonus pay by achieving results. His carefully developed results and rewards system has instilled a sense of pride and ownership in his employees, causing them to treat the company as if it is their own.
In many ways, it is. Johnson is constantly tweaking his system to ensure maximum buy-in from employees, and workers are treated as members of a team. They earn respect and autonomy by being accountable and getting results – and they’re rewarded for it. Although the payment has its limits, bonuses for stellar results are handsome.
When asked what he’s learned, Johnson offers, “My advice to others is to build a staff and a culture where every worker feels like an owner – even though they may not be.”