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Why Employee Commitment Should Matter for your Business
Guest Blog from Nicole James of Bamboo People Solutions, an HRi Accredited Platinum Member
Why Employee Commitment Should Matter for your Business. And the 5 top things you can do to improve it.
When it comes to HR, many people assume it’s about hiring, firing, policies and processes. Businesses focus on complying with legal requirements and mitigating risk. HR becomes a tick box approach, a noise in your ear and something you must do to keep on the right side of the law. Your focus is on avoiding the worst-case scenario, rather than creating the best scenario in which individuals support and work hard to deliver. Maybe you even notice yourself rolling your eyes when you need to do something HR related.
If this is you, it’s worth pausing for a moment to consider whether you are missing a trick. Could approaching HR differently provide better value to your business? Could HR actually help to improve your results rather than operate as a cost? Time and again research has shown that employees can make or break business success. And the key to this success is employee commitment. High commitment is linked to a 10% increase in customer satisfaction and a 20% increase in sales. Simply put, businesses with a high number of committed employees are 21% more profitable. Research has shown time and again the advantages of investing in your people. High commitment is linked to better innovation, improved customer service, reduced absence and better retention. On the flipside, businesses with low commitment have 28% lower than average shareholder return. Just think what a 20% increase in sales is worth to your business? Would you like to be 21% more profitable without having spent any additional expense on resources to deliver it?
It isn’t uncommon for businesses to struggle with employee commitment. 83% of employees aren’t committed to their jobs and just over 26% are actively disengaged. I call them the living dead. You’ll know who they are, they keep you up at night, they give you a headache and they drive you to distraction. You feel annoyed because they are taking a salary and apart from being a bum on a seat they aren’t doing what you really need them to.
Now it’s true that SOME of these things can be resolved through understanding legal requirements, better policies and processes. BUT there is so much more to it than that. The key is helping employees understand the workplace, why they’re doing what they’re doing and how they fit into the bigger picture. The key is to focus on employee commitment.
But what does commitment really mean? There is a common misperception that it’s all about personal contentment or individual satisfaction. But this isn’t the thing that really makes a difference to your business outcomes. Commitment is about making sure:
- that employees have a really clear understanding of expectations,
- that managers are aligned and consistent,
- that there are the right tools to do the job
- there is focus on developing individuals, promoting great team work and using effective performance measures.
These are the key ingredients that contribute to people showing up at work and doing a great job. And achieving high commitment isn’t that hard. There are 5 key areas that a business owner can focus on to increase commitment and drive both productivity and profitability.
When you look at the data relating to commitment, managers account for a large amount of variance in commitment levels. Within the same business you can look at different teams and the commitment levels vary widely because of the way the leader interacts and engages with the team. There are three key aspects that you need to ensure that you demonstrate and deliver effectively as a leader:
- Be a role model – show up, be consistent and model the behaviour that you expect to see from others
- Develop great people and teams – know your team, recognise great work, hold individuals and the team accountable and improve where you can
- Provide a clear vision and clarity – tell the story about where the business has come from and where it’s going to. Be clear about each person’s role and help them understand how they contribute to the business success
Address those people challenges quickly.
I know that it feels easier to push things to one side, turn a blind eye and focus on delivering business results. But this eats away at you, it causes frustrations and others start to think if that person can get away with ABC then maybe I can too. Before you know it, one small issue becomes 10 issues. People challenges are tough and tiring, but the more energy you put in to address the niggles early on the easier things will be.
This isn’t about employees having their own way. It’s about understanding what people want and need at work, what frustrates them, what are their strengths and why they come to work. It’s about giving space to others views, responding where appropriate and encouraging others to contribute ideas to make the business better. Directly involving employees in the issues that Senior Leadership are focused on has been proven to have a significant impact on profits. Gucci credits this one activity with a sales growth of 136%. Your employees are the people that see what happens, if they understand what you’re trying to achieve then they are the ones that will help you adapt and grow. There are many different ways you can enable your people to have your say, but it really just boils down to one simple skill. Actively listening to what people think and then acting on what you’ve heard.
The importance of your team.
Don’t underestimate the added value of spending time making sure your team works well together. When I think of team effectiveness, I always think of Formula One. Lewis Hamilton may get recognised for his amazing record but he knows that this isn’t solely down to him. Every person in the Mercedes team knows their role, each race is reviewed and analysed. The team look at what went well and more importantly what could have been better. They are making constant tweaks that provide incremental improvements. Everyone plays a part. Do you talk about performance and delivery with your team enough? Do you really work well together? Does each person know exactly what role they play and the contribution they make? Do you ever talk about how you could do things better?
The employee experience.
What does it feel like to work in your business? There are many different touchpoints for individuals when engaging with your business. It starts at recruitment and their first day. It includes the everyday interactions an individual has, the way their performance is talked about, the way issues are dealt with, the equipment and technology that is used and the way customers interact. When it comes to employee experience, you need to make sure that it’s consistent. Does the start, middle and end of the journey reflect how you want things to be?
We live in an ever changing world, uncertainty and change are the only things that are really guaranteed. In this context, it is important to ensure that you’re using every resource available to you to increase profitability. People are one of the highest costs in business; they also offer one of the biggest opportunities to maximise your success. And this is what your HR Consultant can help you with – maximise your productivity and profitability through your people.
About Nicole James and Bamboo People Solutions
Nicole James has worked in HR for over 18 years. She is a founding partner of Bamboo People Solutions. Nicole is passionate about working with business owners to help them reduce the time and energy spent on people management frustrations and develop a proactive plan to improve employee commitment and performance. Bamboo People supports all aspects of HR including targeted interventions with problem employees, recruitment, performance, training and dismissal. Working with you to build a people strategy that fits your business and ensures that you have the support you need with operational people activities.
As a Platinum an Accredited member of HRi, Nicole James and Bamboo People Solutions feature in the HRi Directory, having been assessed against the HRi standards.