Beyond Compliance to Commitment

More than half of U.S. employees are not engaged at work, according to a newly released Mercer Survey. Key measures for engagement as reported in the survey are “loyalty, commitment, and motivation.”

The challenge of gaining employee commitment is not going away. I wrote about this over a year ago, “Gaining Employee Commitment in Tough Times: Performance and Potential in R&D Today.” As the recession continues, it is easy enough to be compliant, if not complacent. That is the safe thing to do.

In the long run, compliance without commitment is taking its toll.

Employees will do whatever is required to hold onto their jobs, including just keeping their heads down and working harder. In the short run, for the time being, that may appear to be a satisfactory way to “engage” with the work at hand. In the long run, compliance without commitment is taking its toll. The Mercer Survey verifies this.

Employee commitment is not a sufficient condition for innovation to flourish but it is a necessary one. Those who wish to be market leaders as the economy revives dare not ignore what is required to move beyond compliance to commitment.

Good leaders explore and discuss with others what really matters to them and help them to re-ignite their passion. Without such interest on the part of those we respect or maybe even admire, the drive to exceed one’s own limits is lost; innovation becomes little more than a company slogan.

We need more leaders now who understand what’s required to gain commitment beyond compliance.