Home » General » How to Stimulate Employee Commitment [column]

As remuneration issues remain a key HR challenge facing many organisations in Zimbabwe, a common dilemma that confronts business leaders is how to stimulate employee commitment even when conditions are not permitting.

That money is a motivator is well known, but there are a lot of occurrences where companies are constrained funds are not available, yet we still need the commitment and performance of our employees at work.

We just cannot depend on money alone.

So how may this be achieved? How may we get our employees to get the value of what we do without thinking economics?

When we start to think about, and act on this it may contribute towards improving capacity utilisation in companies, current challenges of retaining qualified and critical staff, improving industrial health and boosting employee engagement levels among other things.

I am constantly challenged to think about how business leaders may filter people management practices through the lens of their employees and in the absence of financial inducements.

While money drives us to work, its influence is not conclusive particularly on stimulating employee commitment.

The premise of HR value lies on the relationships we build with our employees. This relationship is mightily responsible for unlocking organisational performance through people.

Building g relationships with employees enhances leaders’ capacity to become credible activists and trusted cadres by their staff, especially during fallow periods when their financial hands are tied.

They are still expected to create winning employee value propositions that strengthen employer brands and enhance employee engagement as drivers of business performance. Developing g EVPs non-financially requires that your organisation works on a number of issues.

Involving employees in decision making is a common denominator. It only gives them a sense of purpose and direction. No employee wants to read about their company’s strategies and initiatives through the press. Putting everyone in the picture breeds meaning and passion among employees. Even bad news should be directly communicated.

Leaders also need to create a platform for the generation of new ideas (an entrepreneurial environment). Instead of just thinking of cutting costs through retrenchments, they may need to push people to think and save their jobs.

In fact, research confirms that layoffs made purely to cut costs often lead to poor service and thus to lower productivity.

At the same time, holding employees accountable for results, and making them understand the secret of saving their jobs enhances their capacity to think of, and given opportunity, experiment with new ideas, products, etc. One argues that necessity is the mother of all invention.

And do not think twice about getting rid of dead wood (poor performers), otherwise they penalise the whole organisation and affect your good ones.

Make line managers accountable for the people they lead. Poor accountability is but one of the single influencers on employee performance and commitment.

When every manager is held accountable for the people they lead, they will know how to stimulate motivation of employees to produce results . . . without blaming a salary delay of course. They will also assist in developing staff competencies required for business performance.

On the other hand, considering that we are confronted with changes more frequently as we adjust and adapt to the current challenges, there is need to communicate these changes more as “business as usual” rather than “CHANGE” and communicate them in a language understood by employees. Avoid frightening them always. Help them understand. Give them a sense of purpose.

I also notice the need to create commitments and covenants with employees focused on their willingness to work for your organisation, for example that if we do this, are you going to continue working for us? Are you going to be happy?

This is one of the on-spot stimulants to employee commitment and performance. Parents are used to dangle prizes to kids for passing with good grades and guess what, it works!

Employees will perform better if they understand what they are expected to achieve, have means to achieve, but more importantly, when you show interest in their work by making such conversations with them.

If you can, make a follow up on even those that left, if we know where they went. That sounds stupid. But nothing kills an organisation like an employee who leaves cursing it, for many employees leave bosses, not companies.

Assuming you recall them at some future date, what would make them return? Those who return are most likely to stay longer if they trust that you have put effort to improve their previous reasons for leaving, well beyond just money.

Also keep an eye on the amount of time workers spend in personal developmental activities. 10-15 percent of them have the potential to leave if you do not help them in their values. They develop themselves in anger so that by the time they finish studying, you are finished. Zig Ziglair says “your significance solidifies as you give it away to others”.

There is a need to continually ask yourselves why employees want to work for your company (or why they wouldn’t). You may even ask them. Interestingly it may not always be about money, but rather the existence of opportunities, the relationships we have built with them, or even the quality of leadership.

Hence leaders should never get tired of gathering all sorts of data about employees as well as understanding their levels of satisfaction, engagement etc. These provide input for relevant decision making. There are various local organisations that may assist to gather such data.

While these are not post-ordinary in their very nature, they go a long way in stimulating employee commitment and performance.

Your litmus test is the day you communicate a salary delay.

Peter can be contacted on 0772906050 or email psibandafunhiro@gmail.com

Source : The Herald