You Need an Employee Commitment Strategy
By Jessica Miller-Merrell
So often we see articles and reports on employee disengagement and workplace dissatisfaction. From all of the coverage it gets, you might be tempted to believe that disengagement and dissatisfaction levels are high when, in reality, they are at some of the lowest levels we have seen in years. In some instances, we are talking all-time lows. As the economy continues to show improvements, so does the overall employee interest in staying loyal to their organization or employer.
Great employees who do good work and exceed their employer’s expectations often have options, meaning other companies who see them for what they are worth and are actively pursuing them—trying to take them from you, their current employer. In a good economy that is getting better, these options are offered up in daily reminders via LinkedIn InMails, social media updates from your competition’s Facebook career page. Often times your employees don’t even have to seek them out as the options come straight to them, unsolicited.
Why You Need An Employee Commitment Strategy
In this instance, you don’t need to be worrying as much about things like recruitment strategy. You don’t need an employee survey to measure the effectiveness of company culture. What you do need to measure, evaluate, and understand, instead, is the commitment—not just satisfaction or engagement levels—of your employees.
You need an employee commitment strategy. In developing an employee commitment strategy, you will not only be able to gauge but also increase commitment levels and ensure the long term commitment of your employees to your organization.
Defining and Developing Your Employee Commitment Strategy
Every company is different and, for that reason, their commitment strategies will often differ as well. It is important to communicate with your employees, whether that be through surveys or other means, to determine why they are committed to your organization or what factors might increase their commitment. You will be able to define what factors influence commitment levels in your organization. From there, you will have a good idea of where to start.
An employee commitment strategy is a promise, a sort of mission statement, where your business leaders also commit to the employee population. Like many other things, commitment is a two-way street. It’s not just another malarkey CEO roundtable, but instead a meaningful and heartfelt—as well as actionable—commitment and promise that your organization will improve their company culture and focus on employee communication and engagement. When you make all of these commitments to your employee, they will commit to you.
Communication is Key
One of the biggest parts of your strategy will be communication. When an organization fosters a culture of open communication from top to bottom as well as from bottom to top, it allows for employees to feel comfortable voicing their opinions and concerns while also encouraging genuine and honest feedback from people in leadership to those beneath them.
When a company listens to the employees and actually takes into consideration their wants, needs, and ideas, it shows their level of commitment to their workforce. From there, the other aspects that can be important to your strategy will likely fall into place, whether it be making needed changes to policies, providing learning opportunities, making sure wages and benefits are where they need to be, and so on. Listening to employees will give you a good idea where you stand.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make changes; in doing so you will earn the desired respect and commitment from your employees. Not only will they be likely to stick around, they may also then help you attract other talent. It is indeed a cycle; if you are committed to your employees they will be committed to you.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is an author, speaker, HR professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president/CEO of Xceptional HR and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. Follow her on Twitter, @jmillermerrell