Managers today have numerous motivation tools at their disposal ranging from incentives to job enrichment, to participative management. Why then go through the trouble of winning commitment at all? The reason is that committed employees has better attendance records and longer job tenure than their less committed counterparts. Not surprisingly, they also work harder at their jobs and perform better than do those with weaker commitment. The question therefore is how can a manager foster employee commitment?
As many managers would agree, commitment without a cause meaningless. There are many actions an organization can take to achieve this feeling among employees that they are part of something greater than themselves by creating a shared mission and an ideology that lays out a basic way of thinking and doing things; create organizational charisma by linking missions and values to a higher meaning and promote the commitment of employees to the mission and vision at hand through selective hiring and focused, value-based orientation.
A clear mission and vision provides a double benefit: The mission provides a focus to which employees can commit, while the values that make up the firm’s vision provide internalized guidelines for their behaviors.
While not all business firms want to emulate the spiritual higher-callings of Kanter’s early communes, it is possible to nurture a mission so that it evokes a higher charismatic calling that employees can espouse. Similar to medieval crusaders employees then do their best for the organization not because they are paid to do so, but because it is a higher calling.
The process of linking employees to ideology should begin before the worker is hired. With such practice, these companies clarify what their basic values are, and later enforce procedures for screening new employees, requiring evidence of commitment to the firm’s values by their candidates, and reject large numbers of prospective employees. The desired net effect is to select employees whose values and skills match the organization’s vision and who are well on the road of becoming believers before they are even hired. Value-based hiring serve as tool to eliminate those who may not fit.
Steeping the new employees in the value and culture is more important than ever. Traditional orientations cover topics such as company benefits, but ideal intent should revolve around converting new ream-members to the company’s vision of quality, personal development, open communication, etc. Combined with continuing team and quality-oriented training, upon completion of the orientation, employees will be more prepared to move the company’s mission forward.
Tradition-building symbols can further enhance employees’ conversion to cultural believers. The challenge is then is to engage in those practices that symbolize those values and tell people what its ok to do and not to do.
Managers today have a dilemma with maintaining employee commitment in the face of downsizing, millennial entering the workplace, turbulent changes, and media distractions. In order to win the race, a comprehensive, multifaceted management system, consisting of an integrated and internally consistent package of concrete action and policies is required along with the above steps.
By Sophia Sanchez, SPHR
Principal Consultant – Develop For Results International
Author of “The Development Alternative: Powerful Strategies for unparalleled Business Results”
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