Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Organizational Commitment and Performance Management: Employees Performing at their Best

The way employees perceive their jobs is affected significantly by organizational culture and the climate in the workplace. The work environment also has a bearing on employee performance and the way that performance is seen by others.

Organizational culture is created by management's priorities, policies, practices, values and attitudes. In turn, this culture helps fashion employee attitudes and influences their behaviour.
Employees spend a considerable number of hours at work each week. Many spend more time with their colleagues and work mates than they do with family members. For employees to be happy and fulfilled, that time must be valuable, and not just in terms of monetary gains.

Employees want to be engaged in their work. They seek work that is enjoyable and meaningful. When they are engaged they are productive, and more willing and able to better serve clients.

It's for these reasons that organizational culture and work climate matter. Focusing on building and sustaining a vibrant organizational culture is one way of showing that employees are the organization's most valuable building blocks.

Indeed, there are many reasons to focus on and build organizational culture. Here are just a few:
  • A vibrant culture attracts talent and facilitates on-boarding.
  • A vibrant culture helps to retain talent.
  • A vibrant culture is one in which employees are engaged.
  • A vibrant culture permits employees to be valued and to express themselves.
  • A vibrant culture brings employees together/helps to build teamwork.
  • A vibrant culture helps employees realize their full potential.
Organizational commitment: The glue that binds

Organizational commitment is the measure of an employee's attachment to, or involvement in, an organization.

Organizational commitment is important because a committed employee contributes to the success of the organization and is less likely to move on. Organizational commitment has been categorized as:
  • Affective: showing a sense of emotional attachment to the organization.
  • Normative: exhibiting a sense of obligation or owing something to the organization.
  • Continuance: demonstrating a sense of being stuck in or with an organization, or in a particular job.
Most organizations want employees to feel affective, or at least normative, commitment.

Performance Management

Performance management is often equated with performance appraisal. However, the annual appraisal process, no matter how good the system, will not ensure that employees perform to their full potential. A performance management system must bring out the right behaviours in both managers and employees all year long.
It has been shown that many employees do not feel they receive adequate communication about their performance on an ongoing basis — their managers, in many cases, are not talking to them about their performance throughout the year and between review periods.

There are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure that performance management is an effective in an organization.

Effective performance management means:
  • Organizational commitment to employees is evident.
  • Managers are shown how to conduct performance evaluation meetings.
  • Developmental plans for the future are included (e.g. skills development, training).
  • Measures are in place to deal with poor performance.
  • In addition to the judgment/opinions of managers, information from other sources is included in the appraisals.
  • The review process is consistent across the organization.
  • Ongoing goal review and setting clear performance expectations are key elements.
  • Regular and relevant feedback on employee performance is provided.
And it is clear. Many of the practices that support performance also have an impact on job satisfaction, employee retention, and ongoing employee commitment to the organization.

Leaman Long, B.A., B.Ed.
Y2 Consulting Psychologists

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