Management Articles


Building Employee Commitment: An Imperative for Business Success

By: Gordon L. Simpson

Toronto Managing Partner of The Mansis Development Corporation, Gordon has conducted extensive workshops and seminars on the supervisory and management topics in which Mansis specializes, including performance management, delegation, the hiring and selection process, employee performance problems and performance appraisal. In addition he has worked with many organizations in a consulting capacity in areas related to human resource management, implementing change and team building, and has published articles for a variety of magazines and news publications.

Who cares? That indication of lack of employee commitment could be an indication of a company on the way to becoming another business failure.

The workplace is changing dramatically and demands for the highest quality of product and service is increasing. To remain competitive in the face of these pressures, employee commitment is crucial. This reality is applicable to all organizations but is of particular importance to small and medium sized businesses.

Employee behavior on the job is influenced directly - positively or negatively by his or her immediate supervisor. Positive influences are essential to strengthening employee commitment. Therefore the first step in building commitment is to improve the quality of management. Much has been written recently about the need for improving the education and training of our workforce. As important as this is, at least equal emphasis must be given to improving the quality of management if business is to succeed in achieving greater employee commitment and thereby its profitability.

The benefits of having the best trained workers using the most advanced technology, can be nullified by poor people management practices by managers. Management skills which sufficed in the past are not adequate to meet the challenges facing business today.

The two keys to success in today's environment of increasing competition and rapid change are an absolute passion for, and dedication to, excellence in customer service and the effective and enlightened management of our workforce. The latter breeds commitment which in turn leads to achieving the desired standards in customer service. Without employee commitment, there can be no improvement in any area of business activity. In the absence of good management, employees will simply treat their work as a job - a 9 to 5 routine without any desire to accomplish any more than is necessary to remain employed. It does not take many uncommitted employees to prevent a business from prospering and thereby ceding a big advantage to its competitors.

In many organizations there is a growing commitment gap - a widening split between the expectations of employers and what workers are prepared to do. There are a number of reasons for this erosion of employee commitment; the most common one being a failure of management in some way or another. To succeed in the face of increasing competition, a business needs improved productivity at all levels. This requires the enthusiastic commitment of all employees which can only be achieved through better management practices. To be effective, the skills of good people management must be installed in an organization so they become part of its culture. In this way there will be consistency and equity with respect to how people are managed from the top down to the most junior employee.

Businesses need good people to succeed. Failure on the part of owners or senior leaders to ensure their managers and supervisors are trained and function effectively can lead to the loss of valued employees because the best employees are attracted to employers who place a premium on good people management.

The second key to success, namely customer service, cannot be achieved without dedicated and committed employees. It is the order clerks, customer service representatives, receptionists, and drivers who interact most with the customers. They relate to them in a manner consistent with how they themselves are managed. Hence the direct link between effective management of employees, their level of commitment to the organization and the standard of customer service.

Properly managed employees can be motivated to achieve excellence in any area of a business. They will contribute willingly, and will do more than expected if they are managed well. Extraordinary results can be achieved by ordinary people if management does its job properly. Managing a business today is difficult enough without forfeiting a competitive advantage by lack of attention to its most valuable asset - its people.

It therefore follows that all organizations should give a high priority to its people management practices if they hope to success and prosper in the face of global competition and consumer demand for the highest quality of product and/or service.

© Copyright 2001 The Mansis Development Corporation

Other Articles by Gordon L. Simpson

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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