What is Commitment?
How do we create committed Employees?
Why is it important for an Organization?
What are the factors influencing commitment?
I wonder why I am committed to my organization and so do many of you. Is it that some of us are paid more than others, or some of us are close to the management, or is it something else?
Why, in spite of all odds, some people stay committed to their roles and the organization whereas the majority of employees really do not bother and are just concerned about spending 8 hours in the office and that’s it.
There are another set of employees, who tend to show that they are committed and are really concerned about the organization not because of their work but because of other reasons. These sets of employees take advantage of weak managers to create space for themselves as concerned and committed employees by reporting matters of least significance and making them important to the management. Such employees are often known as reporters and doorkeepers.
In this article we will discuss about the committed and successful employees who add value to the organization of their work, and may be in a later article, I will be discussing about the perceived committed employees.
So what is commitment?
As per Vocabulary.com “Making a commitment involves dedicating yourself to something, like a person or a cause. Before you make a commitment, think carefully. A commitment obligates you to do something”
So dedicating yourself for a person or a cause are important points to note. Further it obligates us to do something for that cause or person or family or an organization or society or country. Commitment and obligation to perform go hand in hand.
Why do people get committed?
We observe everywhere , whether in the family or society or country at large that some people really give more than 100 percent and strive to achieve not only their objectives and targets but work towards achieving organization’s objectives whereas the majority are not so. These employees are committed not because they are given special treatment but they see some value, responsibility and ownership in doing so. We all know the history of India’s fight for independence. Why did people like Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Azad, Sardar Patel and many more had so much of passion , energy and commitment to fight for the freedom of our country. Why only few people like them were were committed and majority of the nation could not demonstrate the same. What influences this behavior and people get committed.
Let’s look at some of the factors influencing commitment.
In my opinion Commitment for any role is influenced by the following factors:
- Adoption / Ownership /Feeling at home
- Taking care
According to my opinion all employees are committed when they join the organization. It is the treatment they get during their induction or initial 3 months that makes them committed or otherwise.
In a family we are all committed to each other, why, because it is our family, we feel at home, we trust each other, we love each other, we are concerned about the well-being of each other, we do not hide things from each other, and we communicate well and frequently. Lack of communication only builds walls and nothing else. Even in a family all members are not equal in terms of caliber, skills and education but we still maintain respect and love for each other. There is no bickering to prove something. We are just committed to each other and support each other because of all these factors which are mutual and inherent in all the family members.
However, when it comes to company, organization, Society or Country, we become choosy and indifferent.
Why this behavior?
Why don’t we adopt our company, our society or our country with same values?
It’s all because of these factors only and individual’s capability of staying focused, ignoring the negative elements. To stay concerned about his or her responsibility, ownership and the desire to do and achieve something for the Society.
Let’s look at these factors as to how can an organization create committed employees.
Adoption of Employees
First and foremost factor is the adoption of new employees in the organization. When a new employee joins an organization, he or she comes in with lots of positive vibes, expectations and aspirations assuming that he or she will be able to full fill his or her dreams in the new organization. Apart from these, they also have anxiety towards the new environment. New employees should be treated with care and sensitivity so that they get a feeling of being part of the organization and should never get a feeling of being an outsider. It is important to note that the most active people or people who surround the new employees are the reporters and doorkeepers who are afraid of anyone new taking over their position. As managers, we need to ensure that new employees are always surrounded by committed employees who infuse positive energy. They are treated as equals and part of the organization. As good managers new employees should be given enough time to settle down and understand the culture of the organization. We must ensure they are not left alone to themselves and are taken through a structured induction program which keeps them busy. A buddy also plays very important role in this process but more often the buddy program in most of the organizations is just a formality and a tick mark activity. It is these initial days in any organization that a new employee starts to feel at home or as a stranger or outsider.
Trust plays an important role in ensuring that we are hiring and employing committed employees. People come from different walks of life with varied experience, Cultural, Social, Educational, and Economic backgrounds. They immediately start forming perceptions about people and the organization. As good managers it is our moral responsibility to ensure that we become transparent with all employees about various aspects of the organization and share as much as possible before they form wrong perceptions. If our employees trust us they will slog and go extra miles with us. Trust cannot be built in a day but can be destroyed in a minute through our behavior. As good managers we need to be role models, unbiased, add value, lead from the front, be approachable, and consistent in our behavior. Organizations with trust as one of the core values need managers who are collaborative and proactive in their approach, looks at long term aspects of the business rather than short term.
How can managers create transparency at work and what does it mean to an employee.
As per Transparency-initiative.org “Transparency is a characteristic of governments, companies, organizations and individuals that are open in the clear disclosure of information, rules, plans, processes and actions”.
So it is important that managers exhibit transparency in their behavior, communication, vision, goals, values, plans, differentiation, rules, processes, rewards and actions. Any new employee is like a white board and good managers should always use this opportunity to write good and positive story not only to motivate them but to make them committed to the organization and transparency plays a vital role in this. Again this is a behavioral aspect and need to be demonstrated by managers.
Taking Care / Mentoring and Coaching
Every person has some strength’s and some weaknesses. We all are humans and look forward to people around us for help and guidance .People who can take care of us, coach us and guide us in time of need. As managers we play a vital role in the growth of our employees and subordinates. Good managers always have that eye to recognize the times when a subordinate is having problems and needs hand holding and care. The problems need not be just professional and often the work suffers because of personal problems. We as managers should proactively extend out our hand to help and give our subordinates that feeling of care. It could be professional help and guidance or coaching or a personal matter. If a manager just ignores these times, he or she as a manager not only loses respect but also loses an employee who could have been a potential out performer and committed employee.
Respect is a way of treating or thinking about something or someone. Each one of us looks for respect. As managers we want that our employees should respect us, similarly all employees also look forward to be treated with respect. As good managers we need to ensure that we do not insult our employees by addressing them with wrong words and corridor gossips. We should give our subordinates opportunity to communicate their point of view and should not cut them in conversation. As good managers, another way to exhibit respect is to give enough time to our employees. All employees should be treated in the same way irrespective of their Social, Economic, Education, Religion, Race or Designation. As good managers, we should ensure similar, decent and comfortable work environment for all our employees. We must ensure that employees should love to come to work and their office. It should be a place to enjoy and be as comfortable as their home. We need to be sensitive to the fact that respect is earned and cannot be commanded.
What motivates people? It is not important to reward and recognize employees for their major achievements only but as good managers it is important to make our employees feel important and good by recognizing them on their small successes. Being un-biased in our approach to employees and treating them at par. As good manager it is important to define very clearly the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for employees. The goals should be broken into small goals with clear guidelines. While recognizing employees, we need to set clear guidelines, be fair and unbiased.
While recognition of employees is important at the same time it is also a sensitive issue to take care of employees who perceive themselves to be in the race. Any kind of bias or deviation of guidelines can result into de-motivating some genuine performers as well and that could have a cascading impact on organizations productivity. It is important to take care of these borderline cases with care and sensitivity. As good managers we really need to be sensitive to all these issues and have a practical and balanced approach to recognition.
Communication plays a very vital role in our lives and as good managers we need to ensure that communication is appropriate, balanced and rich. Communication can either build or destroy relationships if not appropriate. Communication could be verbal and non-verbal. All kinds of communication should have an objective to achieve and should not be just for the sake of it. In our personal life’s, we all ensure to communicate in one form or the other with all our dear ones to check their well-being. As good managers we must ensure communication with our team and employees as frequently as possible and treat them as family members. This not only breaks the barriers and perceptions but also makes the employees feel at home. As good managers, we should walk to the employee’s desk and have brief informal talks, give them a pat on their back for all the good things they have been doing. This builds their confidence, boosts morale and develops that feeling of commitment. Lack of communication just builds walls, negative or wrong perceptions, confusion and as a resultant loss of productivity.
So finally, one question about which you all must be wondering, Is it important to have high performing employees or committed employees. Both have different perspectives. High performing employees may not be committed and vice versa but a loyal and committed employee is a long term bet where as a high performing and uncommitted employee is just a season and will change any time. It is important for an organization to have committed and performing employees with good leadership to play a long game. Unfortunately most of the upcoming organizations ignore this fact. Organizations which have stood their mettle and achieved undefeated positions in the industry rely heavily on these long term strategies.