The feeling that employees lack a high level of emotional investment and personal commitment to their work is one of the most frustrating difficulties business owners can have. Every owner wants people on their team who demonstrate a passion to please customers and go the extra mile to make things work without being prodded to do so. The atmosphere that pervades a company with such employees and the impact of their work on the organizations bottom-line is something every business owner dreams of. But sadly this is far from the reality for most businesses.
For many organizations, the business owner is stuck with staffs that lack that vital personal quality that makes the customer feel that he/she has received service that exceeded their expectations. This affects the business’ long-term profitability as people are more likely to do business repeatedly with a company where they are made to feel special. But what causes staff lack of engagement and commitment toward the company’s goals and objectives? What are the signs when the employees of a company feel a sense of ownership towards its goals?
It is easy to see when the staffs of a company are motivated and energized to achieve organizational objectives. They are tuned in to their work and the organization. They demonstrate engagement – an emotional bond with the work they do; they derive personal satisfaction from it. They also display commitment – a psychological bond to the organization; they readily associate with its identity and culture. When the staffs of an organization own its vision and mission, the following is present in their work and personal behavior.
– Passion: they are enthusiastic about their work specifically and the organization in general. Employees also develop more interpersonal commitment to one another.
– Pride: They are happy to identify with the company because they feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves and which has meaning beyond making money.
– Learning: They show a keenness to learn and improve because they view their output as a personal goal rather than as something imposed by a boss.
– Serenity: They feel a sense of fulfillment and experience personal growth.
Why Staff May Lack Commitment
What are the possible causes for a lack of employee commitment in an organization? Although there may be other causes, the principal cause is leadership deficiencies. Too often, leaders and business owners themselves are responsible for staff inability to take ownership of the company vision. Most times this happens without the owner realizing it; because most owners possess competence only in the area of the product or service that their business is created to deliver. They are excellent at creating that product or service but lack the skills to create a positive environment that facilitates team involvement and commitment to company goals.
Additional factors could be:
Lack of Staff Empowerment: The leader persists in the use of a management style which discourages innovation, creativity and personal involvement. The business owner may want involvement and commitment but still employs decision-making and leadership methods that do not encourage the expression of ideas. In such an environment, staffs are highly unlikely to participate because there is always the risk of getting into trouble for expressing disagreement. Business owners who want to see the staff take greater interest in their work must go from being dictators to becoming facilitators. They must be willing to listen to different points of view and debate alternative positions.
Goals Are Not Fully Understood: The ability to communicate effectively does not happen automatically and most business owners do not have or try to acquire it. A team cannot feel ownership of goals it does not understand. Often the owner assumes that employees will automatically see what they see if they explain what they have in mind. But there is a vast difference between ‘telling’ and ‘showing.’ Getting people on the same page as you, takes more than ‘telling’ them the vision of the organization. In addition to stating and explaining the vision, it must be reiterated at every opportunity. But most importantly, there must be clear connections between the work people do how they do it and the goals of the organization. This builds tangible connections to the ideas communicated.
Disconnect Between Work and Company Goals: Employees may not derive pleasure from doing their work, because it is not stimulating enough to motivate them to offer their best. They may also fail to see the significance of their role in the overall scheme of the company’s operations. If people do not feel that their work matters, either because they do not see how it fits into organizational goals or cannot perceive its impact at the level of the community, they may not see themselves as valued persons making valid contributions to their world.
Moving Too Fast: Business owners can demand more from employees than they have capacity to deliver. Owners may demand a certain level of performance based on the assumption that the staff have received training and should be able to meet those expectations. But they often fail to recognize that an internalization process occurs between when training is done and when its impact is felt and this is when actual learning takes place. Employees who are excessively harassed to produce results may become discouraged and lose interest if they start making mistakes. Leadership must be supportive until a team comes to the desired level of competence.
Feel Uncared For: Employers do not feel that their employer cares for them as individuals or for their personal goals and happiness. People will be willing to put in their best efforts to build something only if doing so benefits them in turn. The rewards people expect are seldom in the area of money only. Employers want to know that they are advancing in their personal abilities and skills, and that giving their best to their work also makes them better as individuals. Additionally, they want to feel that their efforts are adequately remunerated and recognized. They want to be appreciated for their contributions.
Why Team Commitment is Important
The benefits of having a fully engaged and committed workforce cannot be exaggerated. The rewards impact on the general work environment, making it less stressful or even enjoyable to work in the organization. Additionally, the positive feelings that are generated in the minds of customers when they deal with company staff build bonds of loyalty between the company and the community it serves. These factors positively affect the way the organization is perceived by the public, as well as its financial performance.
Other than these incentives, companies have no other option than to aim for a culture that fosters team commitment due to the effects of globalization on the organization.
– Organizations are increasingly under pressure to do more with less. And there is a limit to how far a company can improve productivity without staff engagement and commitment. In order to keep pace with and possibly outperform its competitors, it is in a business’ interest to make partners of its staff.
– Additionally, increasing employee mobility means that staffs are less likely to remain at an organization for any reasonable amount of time. The only way organizations can attract and retain top talent is to offer more than their rivals do, especially in terms of personal satisfaction.
– Growing unpredictability in the environment means organizations are increasingly unstable. But by building on its own internal stability, the company increases its resilience and is better able to withstand outside shocks. A key strategy for achieving this internal stability is promoting staff ownership of organizational goals.
Building Team Commitment
To begin to build a sense of commitment into your employees, the following are key starting points.
The Business Leader: Must invest in training and developing himself/herself to be a better communicator. Leaders have to understand the importance of investing trust in people.
Energize Staff: Create an environment with less toxic emotions. Resolving tensions by creating openness and fairness will increase positive energies and make work more enjoyable and meaningful for employees.
Create Opportunities: Offer staff avenues for personal development through training, friendship and volunteering.
Finally, sometimes a company’s leadership may be unable to identify the causes of staff lack of commitment; top management may be too close to the problem to view it objectively. Getting fresh perspective from a professional familiar with the dynamics of team performance can greatly accelerate the process. By taking an in-depth look at your organizational culture and management methods, they will pinpoint likely sources of the challenges your organization is experiencing. This can immediately plug leaks in your team development efforts and also sustain that level of productivity for the future.
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