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Your human resources are your financial ones too

: Thursday, May 26 - 2005 @ 11:40

Therefore an Employee Satisfaction Survey should not be looked at as a simple inventory of staff morale, opinions and interests. It is a fundamental tool for achieving the key corporate goals of growth and profit.

And by Employee Commitment we are talking about more than just Employee Satisfaction scores. Employee Commitment i.e. a sense of engagement with or loyalty towards an employer is dependent on the degree of motivation that employees experience from their overall working environment.

Therefore organizations that are serious about their employees take time to talk to them and identify what they are looking for from their work environment. And this is best done by the highest management levels. The role of CEO as Chief Listening Officer is now accepted at many of the world’s largest and most dynamic companies.

Time should be spent in bringing groups of employees together, talking to them and identifying what their real motivations are. The identification and listing of employee needs and wants is an objective and scientific exercise. For example, how do employees look at growth? Are they drawing a difference between a consciously planned longer term career path versus a cosmetic change in designation and job title?

The path from identification of key issues to implementation of action is best captured through –

Measuring the key metrics
Managing the implementation of change or outcome
and
Monitoring progress over time.

You can only manage what you can measure. So let us start with a preview of what needs to be measured.

MEASURING

Employee Commitment addresses three fundamental issues:

• What is my Employee Commitment Index? How does it compare with other companies in the same industry, the same region, or even globally?

• What is the Commitment Profile?

• What are the key drivers of Commitment? What are the motivators?

The Commitment Index is a composite of two factors: satisfaction with the job and a motivation to continue. Both are important – you need satisfied employees and you need to retain them. You also need motivated employees so that they grow in their role and by doing so help the company to grow.

The Commitment Profile is also important. A company requires a good mix of satisfied as well as motivated employees. Those who show both these characteristics are the “Drivers”. They bring about positive change.

Employees who are satisfied but not motivated are “Residents” – yes men who do not actually make any significant contribution to company growth.

The other extreme are “Critics” – those who are motivated but not necessarily satisfied.

Forward looking companies specifically focus on this group to identify their reasons for dissatisfaction. Often “Critics” are young, ambitious go-getters. If handled properly they can very effectively be converted to “Drivers”. The latest thinking in research into Employee Commitment indicates that a growing company is likely to have a larger percentage of “Critics” than average. Similarly a low growth company is likely to live with large groups of “Residents”.

And, of course, every company has its fair share of “Detached” – those who are neither satisfied nor motivated. The “Detached” will drop out over a period of time. It is important to check, however, whether the percentage of “Detached” is as per the norms within the industry or the region.

Having understood the degree of Commitment of your employees, as well as their profile, it is critical to diagnose the reasons why. Why is my Commitment index low or high? How can I stall my Critics from becoming Detached? Here one needs an indepth understanding of the drivers of Commitment and the performance ratings on these criteria among all the employee sub-groups. Such analyses will provide invaluable material for future action.

MANAGING

Whenever gaps in the desired level of performance are identified, a change programme is needed to initiate corrective action. For example, an analysis of responses might indicate that the work environment is not totally conducive to efficiency. Or employees might not see a clear career path in front of them and hence lack long term commitment. Or it could merely be a question of benefits and remuneration scales.

Whatever, a strategy can then be worked out. With a scientifically based priority list.

MONITORING

Once a change programme is in place, regular checks are needed to ensure that objectives are being met. And needless to say, the more consistent the process, the more meaningful the exercise and the ultimate results.

In summary then, it is one long chain – from Employee Commitment, to Customer Retention, to Company Profitability. The starting point, and more importantly, the core, is always the employee. And more so today when there is very little differentiation between products and services. It is the human face behind the product or service which often makes the difference. For example, there is very little difference between two competing airlines on the quality of inflight entertainment or food. The difference between the two is often based on whether the food is offered with a smile. And that smile has a direct correlation with the Commitment Index of the cabin staff.

To put it another way: the 3 M’s of Measuring, Managing and Monitoring Employee Commitment are intrinsically linked to another 3 M’s i.e. Making More Money. And that, of course, brings us to TNS’s own 3M’s – TRI*M™ – our unique stakeholder management tool.

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Thursday, May 26- 2005 @ 11:40 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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