DNS was recently featured on the front cover of Canadian Industrial Machinery and during the interview for this article we briefly touched on how long some of our employees had been with us for. We wanted to take this opportunity to expand on that with an informative post regarding organizational commitment. Many of our core members have been working together for upwards of 15 years and we also have a valuable group of part time workers, who can be seamlessly integrated into the team if we need additional help on a large project with a tight deadline.
Given this slight variability in work force it was essential that we ensured everyone felt like a valuable member of the team and we are enjoying the increased employee morale and productivity associated with this.
The below principles are taken directly from the fields of organizational behaviour and social psychology and we hope that learning more about the nuances of organizational commitment will be as beneficial for your organization as it was for ours.
Organizational commitment is the relative strength of an employee’s attachment or involvement with their respective company. It is usually broken down into three categories; affective, normative, and continuous, and it is essential that we recognize that not all forms of organizational commitment are equally favourable.
The ideal type of organizational commitment is affective commitment; which is when an employee feels a strong emotional attachment to their organization. They have likely internalized the company’s values and goals, which means that meeting those goals and upholding the company’s values has been linked to their own sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.
This results in employees that don’t begrudge coming to work and putting forth a lot of effort because they feel a strong personal connection with the organization. Employees that have an affective commitment are also more likely to experience internal versus external motivation. Internal motivation is when the impetus or drive to perform a task originates from within the employee rather than being from an external source. In general it is preferable to have a workforce that experiences some degree of internal motivation because it means a manager doesn’t have to completely rely on external rewards or punishments to inspire action.
The next type of commitment is normative, which is when an employee stays with an organization out of a sense of obligation. This could stem from a belief that the company has invested a lot of time or resources in them (either through training, bonuses, etc. ) and they owe it to the company not to pursue other job opportunities. This isn’t necessarily a negative type of commitment but it would be preferable if employees were staying with the company out of a sense of personal enjoyment rather than guilty feelings about leaving. With this in mind we should ensure that when providing growth or training opportunities to employees we aren’t just doing it for the sake of increasing loyalty, but to actually improve their skills and keep them engaged.
The final type of organizational commitment is continuous commitment and it is the least favourable type for a business. In this case an employee is only staying with the organization because they feel that leaving would be too costly. Continuous commitment basically stems from a fear of loss; an employee doesn’t want to risk leaving their job and losing out on the level of benefits they currently experience. Given this mindset it is easy to see why this type of commitment is the one most associated with the lazy employee who contributes just enough to not to get fired but not a sliver more.
Losing this type of employee to turnover is actually desirable and an important reason why employers shouldn’t attempt to solve worker retention issues solely through a pay increase. By just increasing pay and ignoring other factors employers will likely increases continuous commitment but do nothing to facilitate that strong emotional connection, between employee and company associated with affective commitment.
In addition, appealing to workers through pay alone relies solely on external motivation and doesn’t seek to appeal to, or increase an employee’s internal driving force (their internal motivation). There is nothing wrong with offering a competitive wage but employees need more than a big pay check to keep them motivated and satisfied with their current company.
Other ways to increase affective commitment include: giving employees plenty of feedback on their daily work, increasing workers levels of autonomy, linking personal and organizational goals and making sure employees experience plenty of positive emotions at work. To conclude, when employees are viewed as valuable strategic assets rather than costs, managers can cultivate a positive work environment which breeds motivated and productive employees with high levels of organizational commitment.
To read the aforementioned CIM article click here
To check out our featured projects click here
And to view our source on Organizational Commitment click here