Raising Employee Commitment – The Business Case & Practical Actions for improving the engagement of your people
Watching this Base-Jumper launch himself off a rock high above the Lauterbrunnen valley in Switzerland I thought about the total commitment he showed (as well as his total trust in his parachute, other equipment and personal skill). Clearly the expectation of personal enjoyment he gained from each jump more than offset concerns for the risks and the opportunity costs involved. A very personal “balance sheet” of costs and benefits! I then related this to the world of work and reflected upon the value enterprises would gain if they could increase the commitment of their people – by even a small fraction of the commitment shown by the Base-Jumper. I sensed that developing and articulating a very personal “balance sheet” – anchored in an individual’s expectations and the assessment of the enterprise they work in – would create a foundation for achieving this.
Why focus on improving employee commitment (and engagement)?
The following hypothetical examples provide a sense of the value that can be gained from increasing commitment / engagement / discretionary effort:
- Raising the productivity of a Manager’s with a salary of £40k by 3% = £1.2k
- Raising the productivity of a team with a total salary cost of £200k by 3% = £6K
- Generating 5% more discretionary effort = £10K
- Manager recruitment cost 25% x 40k = £10k
- Manager % effectiveness in Year 1 = 70% (-£12K)
If Manager’s average length of service can be increased by 1 Year (say 20%) i.e. from 4 to 5 years, Manager productivity improves by 12K and recruitment costs fall by 2.4K = +£15K!
Whilst the numbers above are arbitrary, my point is that there are real bottom line benefits to be gained from improved employee commitment in terms of both greater discretionary contribution and longer service to the enterprise.
How can employee engagement be increased?
Firstly, a quick win …… walk about and talk to your people, show interest in them and thank them for particular contributions they are making. Quoting Tom Peters “there is no greater gift to the person or persons whom you are engaged than a heartfelt (as well as headfelt) acknowledgement of their contribution and fundamental human worth”.
Secondly, recognise diversity – Different People have different circumstances, needs & motivators. Actions that are “tuned” to individuals will therefore be the most effective in raising commitment and employee engagement. We should expect that for some people, your enterprise will be the most important thing in their life – for others it will but one of a portfolio of interests. I believe that it is helpful to think about your people in a number of different “dimensions” as you consider potential “interventions” to improve commitment and engagement. As an aid to better understanding your people you may like to consider where you assess they are on the following five dimensions:
Length of Service
Value to the Enterprise
|Plot a cross section of your people onto this graph. Do you have people in Quadrant A that need a performance improvement plan?|
Armed with the insights on your people that you have gained, a dialogue with each of them to agree personal commitments to the enterprise and enterprise commitments to the individual can provide a launch pad for improved commitment and performance and move people up the commitment ladder – even if not to the level shown by the Base Jumper!
Efficienarta would be delighted to work with you to develop these commitments with your people so that both the personal and the enterprise “Talent Balance Sheets” strengthen – in alignment.