One of the biggest challenges managers face today is how to gain and sustain a satisfied and committed workforce. Think of a job like a relationship: It is new and exciting in the beginning, but after time passes, the butterflies in the tummy slowly disappear. And just like romantic relationships need to be constantly fostered to remain, employees need to be fostered in order to stay satisfied and committed to their job.
What is Employee Commitment?
Employee commitment generally refers to employees who fully invest emotionally, mentally, and physically, so they are focused on achieving the organization’s objectives. A lack of commitment is an increasing concern for both organizations and employees. Many workplace commitment studies, for example, showed a negative impact on specific health-related and personal problems. It is in an organization’s best interest to invest in committing their employees.
Why is Commitment Important?
Employees who are committed to their company generally feel a connection with their organization, they feel that they “fit in” and understand the vision and goals of the company. The added value of such employees is multiple:
- Committed employees are more determined in their work and show higher productivity
- They tend to be more proactive in supporting their co-workers
- They are more likely to adopt the organization’s vision and goals
- They are less likely to call in sick or to resign from their job
- They refer the company positively to their private network
With all that in mind, it is clear that ensuring employee commitment should become a priority.
Signs of Lacking Commitment
Employee commitment is just as easily gained as it is lost and this can be attributed to several factors. In good financial times, for example, employees are generally more committed and their focus is oriented towards fairness issues and personal career development. During poor economic conditions, however, employees are less passionate and engaged, but rather concerned about keeping their jobs. It is important to realize that low employee commitment is not necessarily a result of the economic condition, but can have several reasons such as poor communication or a declined organizational culture.
1. Fear of Making Mistakes
Employees tend to be less committed if they are constantly concerned with making a mistake. Organizations should encourage employees to take risks and, when failing, openly discuss their mistakes and learn from them. This encourages innovative thinking and keeps the work passion alive.
2. Information is Exclusive to Limited People
Particular information such as a company or department objectives and strategic plans should be shared company-wide. This is important for employees to plan, prioritize, and execute their work. Troubles and uncertainty arise when crucial information becomes available to only a small group of employees.
3. Milestones are Failed to Achieve
When employees miss deadlines or important targets, the first reaction may be to blame individual employees and hold them accountable. But before that, managers should examine how their own and others’ actions may have contributed to the situation at hand. For example, do you insist on running every new idea through you before letting an employee pursue it? Managers need to realize and acknowledge that they might make it hard for employees to complete their projects on time.
How to Regain Employee Commitment?
If this sounds like your company, here is the good news: employees are inherently desiring to win back a sense of commitment and enthusiasm for their work. If you apply some basic principles you will notice both attitudinal and behavioral shifts in your employees.
1. Ensure Company Fit when Hiring
A good starting position for employee commitment can already be set during the recruitment and selection process of new employees. Whereas job fit data tell you whether a candidate possesses the skill set necessary to perform the job, company fit data show you how your candidate fits into the larger culture of your company. The better the company fit, the more likely employees will enjoy going to work day after day. SuperCareer, for example, provides a solution for including company fit data in your recruitment process. When employees feel they fit in well with an organization, they tend to remain with it.
2. Define Company Goals & Job Responsibilities
Clarity about organizational goals helps employees make better decisions on the job. Knowing the company goals helps them reduce the time and resources wasted on irrelevant topics that do not move the company any further. In addition to clear company goals, each position should have a formal job description. Employees should know from day one what is expected of them, to whom they report, and what kind of decisions they are allowed to make.
3. Provide Career Opportunities
Employees will not be satisfied and committed unless there is room for professional growth and development. Employers should get together with employees to work out a tailored career plan in line with the future career prospects of the employee. When employees feel there is a career plan for them, they show more commitment and loyalty to the company and are more likely to stay.
4. Clear Communication
Without clear communication, employees will find it difficult to understand what is expected of them and what procedures and policies to follow. Employees should be informed of any changes being made. Strong communication provides an opportunity for employees to express concerns in real time. This prevents misunderstandings and uncertainty from occurring. Lack of communication within the organization can result in a decrease of employee productivity and commitment.
5. Give Employees a Voice
Encouraging employees that their contributions are valued and implementing their ideas may be the easiest way to gain commitment. If employees feel they play a part in decision-making, they generally feel more enthusiastic about achieving organizational goals. Furthermore, asking employees for feedback will make them feel a valued team member. Periodic employee satisfaction surveys, for example, reveal what employees think of their jobs and the organization. Taking the time to understand employees’ needs and showing them you are listening is crucial to increase commitment and loyalty.
6. Provide Fair and Objective Feedback
People like to hear when they are performing well and in which areas they can improve. Therefore, it is important to give employees a clear understanding of where they are succeeding and what requires more attention. Feedback, however, is only effective when delivered objectively and fairly. Lack of feedback can result in uncertainty and dissatisfaction within the company, resulting in high turnover.
7. Speak out Recognition
Employees want to feel that their work is important. A great employer makes some time to recognize employees for their achievements. A little recognition can convince an employee, who might be looking for other career opportunities, to stay. By giving compliments to employees who deserve it, their morale will be boosted. As a side effect, fellow employees will be motivated to engage in similar behaviors to gain praise.
8. Foster a Corporate Feeling
Opportunities for employees to build stronger bonds with each other will help them to develop a collaborative network. Events like a company dinner or celebrating employee birthdays, for example, provide employees with the opportunity to interact with each other on a personal level. In a strong network, employees are likely to support each other in times of stress. Strong bonds between employees can lead to a positive work environment and increased productivity. They also serve as a great opportunity for boosting levels of commitment.
9. Train your Employees
Most employees leave a company because of a poor relationship with their boss, not because of the company. Therefore, it is important that managers and supervisors receive proper to develop people and management skills. A great employer provides those opportunities either with internal or outside education, sponsored by the company.
10. A Challenging Work Environment
Employees generally seek variety and challenge in their work. A challenging job helps employees to get a feeling of accomplishment and competence. Employees that feel challenged have the opportunity to gain energy and satisfaction from their work. They will ultimately be more inclined to stay with the organization.
Employees can become unhappy, unmotivated, bored, and exhausted in the course of their employment with a company. This can ultimately result in employee turnover impacting the business adversely. It is more crucial than ever to make employees feel valued, motivated and a loyal asset to your company. Clarity about company goals and job responsibilities, room for professional growth and development, clear communication, participation in decision-making, fair and objective feedback, periodic employee satisfaction surveys, and a challenging work environment are all factors that can increase commitment and loyalty of your employees. You’ll be surprised how a little recognition can work wonders…