Ken Blanchard (famous author of "One Minute Manager") once said that there is a difference between interested and committed. It could be a job, cause or association. Being interested means that you are happy being there as long as the circumstances are favorable to you. If things do not work out; you are happy to move on. Find some thing more interesting!!! Most of us would not bother to make it work. Commitment on the other hand means that we would stick to it no matter what happens. We hang in there in the worst of the circumstances.
It is therefore not surprising to note that we mostly use the term "committed" in the context of any relationship, cause etc. Hence beware of the celebrity or page 3 socialites claiming to be interested in a cause. You know what that would mean!!
Let us ask ourselves how often we claim that we are committed to some thing however subconsciously we are only interested in it. How many times have we heard or used the word commitment when it comes to our jobs or organization.
The fundamental question is... can we remain committed to some thing where the sole motive is to achieve only desirable results? In an organization or in our jobs we are always looking to achieve results that are favorable to us. If that being that case it is quite natural to start looking for some thing more interesting if the current interest is not interesting enough!!!!! Is it possible to have an organization of committed employees? Can we measure the commitment levels of the employees?
It will be extremely naive of me to think that we can have extremely committed employees all the time. It is however my view that we can work to ensure that we have relatively higher levels of commitment in the organization.
To begin let us challenge the assumption that satisfied employees are committed. Satisfaction Index is just an indicator of the level of hygiene in an organization. To have a high level of commitment; we would need a culture of transformational leadership.
Transformational leadership (and I will not quote a journal or literature here!!!) for me is a culture where we follow more than we lead. One always endeavors to find out the best practices or views without judging its source. In the process of following what is best, he is unconsciously accepted as a leader by others.
It is my view that employees under such leadership would be more committed and less interested. Transformational leadership can create a sense of share responsibility where the burden of undesirable results can be shared equally. This may not allow any individual to feel that the things are not working out only for him. In other words we would have strong teams with shared responsibilities.
It is almost a universal fact that most of us are committed to our values. It is therefore important that the organization clearly communicates it values across every level. This will allow them to map their own organizational values to the individual's values. Employees are more likely to show higher levels of commitments towards those organizations whose values are similar to their own values. An endeavor should be made to demonstrate those values through actions.
Passion in my view is the key driving force behind commitment. It is therefore vital that employees are passionate about what they are doing. Hence resource allocation should be considered an extremely important task. Identifying right people for right job and communicating that the options are available in case you have not got the right job is extremely important. The freedom for an employee that he can be allowed to always locate the best opportunity available (with no strings attached!!) goes a long way to help achieve this objective.
There are many others ways in which we can ensure that the employee commitment remains high and would like to invite every one to share their views.
Finally it is important that we have a Commitment Survey every year to know the current level of employee commitment. It can be measured against the agreed or desired levels.
There are so many such surveys available in the market. However I do not concur with the one size fits all philosophy. An organization should brainstorm and come up with its own set of questions to gauge or measure the commitment levels of its workforce.
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