Monday, July 20, 2009

Commitment is a Two Way Street

We used to track employee satisfaction and we got really excited when we learned that 85% of our employees were satisfied. The bad news was that yes they were satisfied, but they still were apt to leave when a better offer came through or they were NOT performing at their peak.

So, then we got smart and said we have to measure engagement. We then did a lot of research and found what drives engagement. Things like accountability, career development, mission and vision awareness, trust, culture, pay and the list goes on. We also measured how loyal an employee is, but that measure today is skewed because I will argue we have a lot of loyal employees due to our economic situation. So, the question is, are our employees that are loyal and engaged really performing at their potential?

I now believe that commitment drives performance. Think about being committed to something and how that affects your behavior. I am committed to my volunteer work because I want homeless men and women to find a job and become self sufficient. I am committed to the organization and the people, so I volunteer many hours a year to assist in the cause.

What do our employees commit to at work?

1) They can commit to the organization

2) They can commit to the team they are on

3) They can make commitments to co-workers and bosses

4) They can be committed to all, some or none of the above

What is commitment?

I believe that commitment is 2 way. Employers have to commit to their employees and vice versa. Just like in marriage, you can't have one person that is committed and one that is "sorta committed."

The definition of commitment is:

"The state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of
action or to another person or persons"

The key words are "emotionally" and "intellectually." So, you either have their heart or mind or both. I would argue that you need both to drive high performance.

Now, the big question is, "How do you get your employees to commit?" How can organizations commit to its employees? (this is where I would love your input!)

What are your thoughts on gaining commitment? More to come in next week's blog...

Check out the video below on 5 levels of employee commitment:


Michael D. Haberman, SPHR said...

I think you can have commitment to the goal of the organization as well or commitment to your goal that is sustained through the organization. I think this will sustain you through changes in people, bosses, teams and even the organization. I think your personal example reflects this. YOu will remain committed to your volunteer passion regardless of what organization or team you work with. It certainly makes it easier if you like the organization and team and people and helps sustain you in the commitment.

Unknown said...

I basically agree with your points, Cathy. But I still see commitment -- in its various forms -- as an element of engagement. And Engagement is not enough. There must also be Alignment with the goals, values and strategy of the organization. And the must be the necessary Capabilities (information, tools, resources, skills, talent) in place to meet customer needs/expectations and execute on the strategy. without these, engagement will not last. People will become frustrated without Capabilities, as they find they it impossible to meet their own standards. Without Alignment, time and resources are wasted at best, counterproductive at worst.

Jerry Seibert
Metrus Group

Unknown said...

I think it may be like the chicken and the egg, which comes first? And you can't have one without the other! Thanks for your comments!!