Commitment is a trade off. In the business world, the employee will only give the amount of commitment that they first get from their leader. A traditional trade off example is the almighty paycheck. In the past, many bosses have relied solely on the paycheck to gain commitment from their employees.
Relying on money to keep people committed is a common employer mishap. Yes, it’s true that an employee will stay at their job for money, but let’s be careful not to mistake staying as commitment to the leader or to the company. Their sticking around is most likely a commitment to something else, like providing for their family. The employee’s strong commitment to their responsibility of earning income is what makes the money exchange worth it. However, paychecks can be earned most anywhere. If a leader only has a paycheck commitment from their employees, they are at risk of losing them to bigger paychecks at other companies.
As leaders our goal should be to gain commitment at a deeper and much more fulfilling level for both us and our employees. Here are five actions to help you gain commitment beyond the paycheck:
1. Include them.
People want to feel in on things. Let them partake. Let them think. Allow your employees to participate in giving feedback on upcoming decisions. Let them be a part of things happening company wide! A great illustration of this is goal setting. Do you set the budgets and goals and then hand them out to your people, or do you include your employees in the goal and budget setting process?
2. Grow them.
Set up a mentorship program so employees can be mentored and serve as a mentor. Your commitment to their growth will generate an enormous amount of commitment in return to you. Find career coaches to help your leaders grow, then challenge your leaders to pass on their learning to the people they mentor. No matter how experienced a leader is, every leader should be mentored and serve as a mentor.
3. Care for them.
Do you care for your employees? I mean really care. Or do you show your love by giving them a paycheck? Know how your employees measure a caring environment. Is it measured by time spent together with you? Maybe it’s simply you trusting them with a new project, or it could be through silly gifts you bring back from vacation or business meetings to show you were thinking of them while you were away.
4. Accept them.
How do you show that you accept each employee’s uniqueness? Do you know and recognize the distinct traits and talents they bring to the team? Can you point out small neat elements to each person and explain how you value their difference? To be completely committed, employees need to feel accepted by their teammates and their leader.
5. Give them vision.
“Can I trust my future to this leader and this company?” How an employee answers that question determines the amount of commitment they’re willing to give back to their leader. If your vision is lame, you’re not going to get a long-term commitment. If your vision is exciting and inspiring but isn’t backed by a common sense strategy, then you won’t get a long-term commitment. Employees want to see a clear picture of where the company is going and how they fit into that big picture long term.
We all want engaged employees, and we don’t have to spend more money to get it, but there is a cost. The cost is our level of commitment and what we, as leaders, are willing to give beyond the paycheck.