Want to break through a rut and rev up productivity? Empower your employees and give them more control.

I’ll admit it: there’s more than a little irony in the name ControlUp. Sure, our entire business centers around helping companies achieve optimal control across every desktop, application, and environment. But when it comes to our people, control is not the goal. Far from it. I firmly believe that rigid control is a surefire way to kill creativity and innovation.

When to loosen control

Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for controlling technology. We rely on finely tuned automation and AI to manage the quantifiable aspects of our operations, delivering a superior digital employee experience with real-time visibility, actionable insights, and automated remediation.

As for building the strongest possible team, I’ve found that the key to success lies in transparency, trust, and employee ownership. We look at driving growth and creating value by inspecting and driving the right metrics and outcomes across product, GTM, Operations, and HR. And when I say ‘ownership,’ I’m not just talking about accountability, though that’s also important. At ControlUp, every employee is an actual shareholder with a stake in the company. This isn’t an empty platitude, like ‘This company belongs to all of us, go team!’ ControlUp employees are genuine stakeholders, which comes with a powerful blend of freedom, leverage, and responsibility against our desired metrics.

Even Harvard says so

We encourage and expect our team members to take a leadership role, embrace risks, raise concerns, and actively shape our direction. This approach is not just a philosophy; it’s a proven strategy. Flat and fast is a winning formula.

Studies have shown that businesses with 30% or more employee ownership are more productive, grow faster, and are less likely to go out of business than their counterparts.[1] When every team member is just as invested in the company’s future as the person next to them, it drives dedication and loyalty that’s hard to match.

Everyone’s voice counts…

Successful employee ownership goes hand in hand with transparency. The more information we share, the more trust we build. We value open dialogue and idea-sharing, encouraging everyone to speak their mind and recognizing that there are no bad ideas.

We also prioritize transparency with our customers and partners, regularly hosting think tanks to gather insights and share knowledge. I make it a point to reach out to each of them personally, opening a two-way discussion to build stronger, more meaningful relationships based on trust and shared goals. I give out my cell phone number to every employee, partner, and customer and encourage them to contact me anytime on any topic.

Is our approach right for every organization? Maybe not. But I’m in the camp of transparency and ownership as universally beneficial principles. Looking to break ruts and build stronger, more resilient teams while revving up productivity? Start here. Embracing these values could be the key to unlocking long-term success.

…including yours

You’ve listened to me; now I’d love the opportunity to listen to you. Is employee ownership part of your company structure? Where does transparency fall on your list of company values? I invite you to share experiences on the topic on LinkedIn

[1] https://hbr.org/2021/05/the-big-benefits-of-employee-ownership

About the author

Jed Ayres

Jed Ayres is widely recognized for the transformational impact he is making on the end user computing industry and joined ControlUp as CEO in August 2023.

Ayres has more than 20 years of technology experience and has a wide range of industry experience across workspace management, virtualization and mobility. Prior to joining ControlUp, he was the CEO at IGEL where he drove the company’s successful pivot from a hardware-centric to a software-first company and was instrumental in its acquisition by TA Associates. Before that, he was the SVP of Worldwide Marketing for AppSense, where he helped the company rebrand and achieve significant growth prior to being acquired by Thoma Bravo to be integrated into Ivanti. Ayres was also CMO at MCPc, a $300m+ Solutions Provider in Cleveland that achieved rapid and sustained growth and was acquired by Logicalis. Before McPc, he spent six years as SVP of Partner Management and Marketing at national solution provider MTM Technologies.

He has also held a number of advisory board positions, including Citrix Platinum Council, VMware Global Partner Advisory Board, and the Cisco Marketing Council. Ayres holds a BS in Business Administration from Sonoma State University and an MBA from San Francisco State University. An avid swimmer biker, and runner, Ayres successfully completed six full Ironman races and several ultramarathons. He resides in Marin, California.