Commitment is a state of emotional attachment to a cause. It is something we feel as a sense of belonging and purpose which is personally meaningful to our own life journey. As part of our neuroscience methodology we associate organisational commitment with employee engagement, and more specifically 'meaning and purpose'.
As Matt Phelan taps into the expertise of John Fitzgerald, founder of Harmonics, for his next book, we wanted to give you a little taster of John's thoughts around organisational commitment.
When I think of commitment, here are some thoughts on factors that impact organisational commitment.
Contribution to Culture: We have come through such turbulent change in the past few years. Covid has reshaped society in ways we never expected with the growth in remote and hybrid work. We have seen culture vouchers to the value of €500 being introduced in countries across Europe to entice young people to come off tech and out of their homes to attend festivals and events. In the UK, we see a Minister for Loneliness to tackle this critical issue of isolation. We have never been so digitally connected but socially isolated. As humans we want to join cultures that commit to us, but my question is are we committing fully to creating thriving company cultures?
Talent Now Holds The Balance of Power: The global shortage of talent has seen the balance of power swinging to people who can work from anywhere dictating their terms and conditions to suit their lifestyle. The younger generation joining business today are the children of parents who gave their commitment and loyalty to organisations. In many cases, this loyalty was misplaced, they trusted too much. Troughs in the economic cycle leads to restructuring and redundancies. Reducing head count is still seen by the markets as a positive and steers the share price back up again. But at what cost to humans? Short-termism has reduced people’s commitment to the company to look after them. As one person said to me impacted by this corporate downsizing “It wasn’t until I lost my job, I realised how lost I was in my job”.
Trust & Certainty: We don’t have certainty in our careers anymore as we live in a uncertain world. We can’t place our full trust in a manager to mentor us as they may move on swiftly to a new employer or their role may be outsourced. My mother was a staunch catholic, she believed in God, she was certain if she lived a good life, when she died, she would eventually enter heaven. It was that simple in her mind, she was certain, she trusted in God. This was her higher purpose. Her faith kept her going through tough times. While my Mam’s generation had their faith, what have we? We might use new corporate words like ‘values' and ‘purpose’ today but how much faith do we have in ourselves to overcome life’s challenges?
Rejection Leads to Redirection: Organisations today are rightly being scrutinised by would be employees. Graduates and mobile talent are more savvy than ever before. Stress and mental health issues are growing each year in the workforce. Now people want more. They want honesty, they want companies to say what they mean and mean what they say. My view is rejection leads to redirection. We are rejecting a world which focuses only on shareholder value and profiteering by the few. Redirection is leading to business models that attract and retain people who want a life alongside their work, not before it and a sustainable living. Smart business leaders are awake to this change and hiring the smart talent who want a better life but more needs to happen.
Commitment is Complex: We need to firstly redefine our commitment to ourselves to prioritise health and happiness. This begins with our education system and identifying role models that live authentic lives not Instagram influencers promoting the perfect life. We know perfection is inhuman, because we humans would have zero empathy. We need to commit and identify with our communities and have a sense of belonging to a place we call home. We need to bring our full selves to work, not the game face. We need to be trusted more and given more autonomy to thrive. We need psychological safety in our working world to open up about ourselves as leaders, managers and employees. This way we become better people, better employers and a better society. We need to give before we take. We live in a world of instant gratification, how about rejecting this for a world of eternal gratefulness.
If I had a message for the world, it would be: ‘Trust more, fear less. By being fearless, we commit’.
"John is the founder of Harmonics, Ireland’s most trusted name when it comes to ‘People Change’. The organisation plans, manages and supports people through organisational change. John's heart sings at seeing his daughter happily grow into a wonderful human being, while travel reenergises his spirit and learning invigorates his curious mind."
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