For today’s employee, being part of something special and making a difference in the world is much more important than the rewards sought by yesterday’s “me” generation. Employees of this new breed want to work for an organization they can feel proud of — one that contributes back to society; an organization that has values and viewpoints compatible with their own; an organization that is oriented toward the long haul, working toward the prevention of ills, not just curing the symptoms; an organization that cares about morals and ethics and doing what is in the best interests of its customers; an organization that doesn’t dominate their lives but rather allows them ample time to spend with their families. Employees want this because they recognize that such an organization will also care about them. Employee commitment matters. Companies that search for the best and brightest people must learn that their efforts shouldn’t end when these people join the organization. To retain these employees, companies should invest heavily in them, both personally and professionally. Today, employees demand trust and respect. They want their input solicited, their strengths utilized, and their contributions valued. Furthermore, every employee should be given the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. When managers don’t abide by this philosophy, employees show little initiative on the job but are highly motivated outside of work; they put in time but no energy; they spend more time working on their résumés than on the activities at hand.
More Ways to Build Employee Commitment
- Employees work best when they have the responsibility and the authority to get the job done.
- Employees want to be part of something special and to know that they are making a valuable contribution.
- Employees want to spend most of their time making the best use of their unique talents.
- Employees should be given challenging responsibilities that stretch their potential.
- Employees should be treated with dignity and respect.
- Employees should be encouraged to try, even though they might fail.
- Employees should know that their employers have confidence in them and in their abilities.
- Employees should be treated in a fair and honest fashion.
- Employees should have their professional standing recognized.
- Employees should feel confident to make suggestions and provide input, as well as receive constructive feedback, without fear of recrimination or retaliation.
- Employees should have access to all information needed to do their jobs.
- Employees should be provided access to management.
- Employees should know that their efforts are valued and appreciated.
What is the impact of such a philosophy? What happens when you really love what you do? When you really care? When you feel part of something special and are doing something good for people? When you know that every action you’ve made has had an impact? And when you know that your efforts won’t be forgotten? You become passionate about what you’re doing; you can’t wait to get out of bed and go to work in the morning; and you feel good about other people’s successes. This generates a spark, an excitement, and an energy that becomes contagious. This kind of employee commitment is happening today, and those organizations that unleash it are winning.
Leadership: Promoting Beliefs and Values
The Costs of Mistreating Employees
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Mark Hill says
Wow Frank! Can I go to work for you? Having been an employee for many years of my life, I think that my “amen” to your list of what motivates a person to a true commitment has some credibility. While reading through your article I couldn’t help but resonate within with so many past thoughts and feelings about what beauty a business potentially can embody if pointed in the right direction. Thanks so much for sharing this. For some reason your article has given birth to an unexplainable hope and joy in my heart.
Frank Sonnenberg says
Thanks Mark. I’m glad the piece resonates with you.
This leadership philosophy requires shifting from a command and control mentality to a values-based leadership mentality. As I say at the end of the piece, “This kind of employee commitment is happening today, and those organizations that unleash it are winning.”
Have an awesome day!
Mark, I *do* work for Frank…and it’s been the best years of my career. He’s not just an extraordinary boss, but an incredible mentor (who I owe a great deal to) and a remarkable person. I am beyond fortunate to call him a friend.
Frank Sonnenberg says
Hi Carrie —
Okay…Enough of that 🙂
The truth is, we’ve been blessed to work with YOU. You’re one of a kind Carrie. Thanks for all that you do.
PS Boss? You don’t work for me, you work with me
Carol Anderson says
This is a great article. What boggles my mind is that this isn’t new and it isn’t foreign – it is the way that so many of us were taught as children. So my question continues to be why more people don’t see this road as a better one to travel. Somewhere there is a pivotal time when some managers forget the basics and start trying to control.
What I love about this is that it wouldn’t take massive amounts of “leadership training” to move in this direction. It could simply be permission to be collaborative and participative, with some tips and tricks thrown in….
Frank Sonnenberg says
You’re absolutely right. “It wouldn’t take massive amounts of “leadership training” to move in this direction.” So, what are we waiting for?
As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”