Employer of Choice: Commitment

Recently, we hear of companies laying-off employees at the mere anticipation of a market slow-down. Conversely, many employees have become so aggressive in promoting their careers that they “hop” from one company to another at nearly the speed of a video game.

The concept of commitment almost seems old fashioned. Ironically, companies want to benefit from low-employee turnover and higher performance of committed employees. At the same time, employees search for companies that are willing to be more committed to them (i.e., organizations who are more sensitive to their needs and who won’t lay them off during economic slumps).

Whether your company is five employees or 500,000 – commitment matters.

Benefits to the Bottom Line

Employee survey research shows that committed employees are more likely to give your customers better service, they are willing to take the time to solve difficult problems, their work is of higher quality, and they are more likely to stay with the organization.

Qualities of Commitment

Committed employees tend to have personal values that are similar to those of the company. They are proud to be a part of their company, care about the fate of the company, and recommend the company as a great place to work.

Distinguish “Commitment” from “Turnover”

Some managers believe that committed employees are those who remain employed with their organization. This is not necessarily so. While it is true that committed employees are more likely to stay with the organization, factors in the workplace, management styles, or changes in the organization can drive out committed employees – leaving behind those who either cannot leave (e.g., for some personal reason) or who simply don’t care. This can be devastating to the future prospects of the company.

Downside

Occasionally, committed employees can be intolerant or territorial. They can be intolerant of employees who do not meet their standards of commitment, quality, etc. Committed employees may also be intolerant of changes to their “creation” (e.g., the department, procedure, or process they helped create). In reality, this behavior is not very common.

The damage done to organizations by employees who don’t care far outweighs the inconvenience of an occasional employee who cares too much.

Important: Commitment is not just a personality trait, commitment is a quality that can be strategically influenced.

Case Study

The company is a whitecollar, service company in the telecommunications industry. It has over 3,000 employees in main corporate offices and in small, outlying sales offices. It has been aggressive in adopting new technology and has tried to be progressive in how it treats its employees. Prior to conducting an employee survey, employees struggled with uncertainty caused by corporate mergers and acquisitions which lead to decreased levels of employee commitment. For this project, some employee surveys were administered via paper while most were administered via the Internet. Results were reported at the company, departmental, and work team levels. Based on the analyses of the employee survey results, work teams implemented improvement projects that produced measurable increases in employee commitment within only 3 months.

Which factors in the workplace influence commitment?

This is what our employee survey research found:

Job Satisfaction

Employees who like their jobs are more committed to the company. Are your employees enthusiastic to come to work each day? Is their work satisfying?

Action:

Long-term Prospects

The more that employees believe an organization will meet their long-term needs and goals, the more committed they are. How do employees see their future with your company?

Action:

Consistency of Values and Behaviors

Employee survey data has shown organizations who “walk their talk” benefit from employees who are more committed.

Examples:

Employees notice and it matters.

Action:

Manager Work Standard

Managers who have high work standards engender higher commitment in their employees.

Action:

Trap: Job Security

The previous four factors significantly affect commitment. However, they can be negated by low job security. A work environment that would otherwise foster commitment, can be hobbled by imminent or regular layoffs.

Our employee survey white papers illuminate the important qualities of successful organizations, but an employee survey is the only way to accurately identify the specific issues unique to your organization. An employee survey will identify the improvement projects required to create and maintain a competitive edge.

Related Employee Surveys

Employee Engagement Survey – Commitment is a primary topic of NBRI’s employee engagement survey.

View all Employee Surveys by NBRI.