It's no secret that employees want to be recognized for their hard work. Whenever a new hire joins your ranks, they carry with them vast potential, which they're eager to show. But even the most devoted employee won't want to carry on if he or she feels that their contributions are going unnoticed. Everybody -- no matter how altruistic they may be -- will eventually feel used.
As an employer, having an engaged workforce is obviously important. It's critical for employee attendance, productivity and satisfaction, to name a few. But there's another significant – and costly –factor that still needs to be mentioned. Specifically, we're referring to commitment.
Having a committed workforce comes with huge advantages, especially with turnover. While there will always be workers who can't seem to stay in job, regardless of the environment, we need to do everything in our power to ensure we retain key talent. Let's face it, there are a lot of companies out there. If an employee isn't engaged enough to remain committed (or vice-versa), they'll find somewhere else to go.
The bottom line is that not only are engagement and commitment important, but they’re two halves of an important whole. Understanding and taking advantage of this vital connection should be at the top of every manager’s list.
Commitment vs. Engagement
Commitment and engagement may mean two different things, but in the business world, they have to be a package deal.
Commitment isn't just one umbrella term or concept. It consists of a variety of different issues and concerns that can affect an employee's overall sense of loyalty.
Employees who are committed feel a deep emotional connection to their company. They want to help because they view their managers and co-workers as friends, or even family. They’re part of a team and they want everybody around them – regardless of professional rank or status – to be happy and successful. Committed workers identify with the company, its vision and ethics, internalizing them as if these are their own. The end result is a sense of pride when coming to work.
Engagement is very similar to commitment. Like commitment, engagement makes staff feel strongly invested, but with one key difference. While the former is about emotional dedication, the latter is more practical and strategic.
Engagement motivates workers to voluntarily go above and beyond the requirements in their job description. They don’t need to be coached or lectured – they just rush in head-on and do the best they can.
Put simply, engagement is about investment in the organization’s goals, while commitment involves viewing the company as being a part of one’s own personality and values.
So now that we understand what commitment and engagement are, it’s easy to see their close connection. When you boil it down, they’re both about dedication. But is it possible to have one without the other? The simple answer is “yes,” but it’s not a good thing.
Let’s look at engagement. Employees may want to see their company succeed, but that doesn’t mean it’s because they’re altruistically invested. Maybe they need to meet a certain goal this quarter if they want to get a good bonus, or perhaps they’re working hard so that the company’s profits (or lack thereof) won’t result in layoffs. Without commitment, all you’re left with is the desire for self-preservation.
This is why commitment is so important. Engagement may be practical, but it doesn’t indicate or promote pride and loyalty. Workers who put in a solid effort to further the company’s goals will be important resources, but they’ll jump ship if they feel that they’re working for an organization that doesn’t fall in line with their own values.
At the same time, staff who take pride in their jobs might not be engaged. You can easily love what you do, but be perfectly happy contributing the bare minimum.
Overall, an engaged workforce is great, a committed workforce is great, but without a combination of the two, your business will be missing out on some key advantages. Once you establish this balance, however, you’ll see an uptick in morale and productivity that remains consistent and fosters growth.