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Reduce Turnover by Building Your Employees' Organizational Commitment

November 11, 2019

iStock-1061632656-1Turnover is a topic discussed in the business world approximately 3.9 million times a day. Yes, I made up that statistic, but I bet I’m not too far off. The truth is, organizations that successfully reduce bad turnover save a significant amount of money. One way to reduce turnover is to increase organizational commitment (OC) in your employees. OC will determine whether or not an employee will stay at a company for a long period of time and if that employee is committed to achieve the goals that are most important to the organization. 

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes – but no plans.” 

- Peter Drucker

In order to understand OC a little better, let’s look at the research in this area. Allen and Meyer (1990) came up with a three-component model that makes up OC. This model is still used today. The three components are: 

  • Affective – The employee’s emotional attachment to the organization (I like the company). 

  • Continuance – The cost to the employee to leave the organization (I can’t find a better job). 

  • Normative – Employee’s obligation to stay with the organization (I’m loyal to the company). 

With these three components in mind, here are three ways to increase organizational commitment in your employees:

1. Find managers who genuinely care about their employees. 

Anyone who has had a boss who genuinely fought for them knows how quickly that can build organizational commitment. When employees realize that they have a friend working on their behalf to ensure their talents are being matched up with the best work for them, it makes a huge difference. On the flip side, when a manager does not have interest in the success and career progression of their subordinates, it is very clear. When employees sense this, there is an instant divide created between themselves and not only their manager, but also their commitment to the organization. Managers can show they genuinely care by taking time to get to know their team, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, and communicating effectively with their employees.  

2. Perfect your organizational communication. 

In my research on this topic, communication is a recurring suggestion to improve organizational commitment. When employees have a clear understanding of expectations, organizational goals, individual goals, regular feedback, transparency around the direction of the company, and a voice to bring their ideas to the table, it positively influences the overall OC. It creates a deep sense of trust and loyalty towards the organization. The same principle is applied in any relationship, when there is a healthy flow of communication and transparency between two parties, there is less room for incorrect assumptions and inaccurate rumors. It’s important to communicate the good news and the bad news so that everyone has a clear understanding of goals and what is driving the goals. 

3. Be generous with benefits, compensation, and other incentives. 

At the end of the day, people need to earn money and pay bills. This should always be factored into the employee commitment equation. I have often heard the idea that everyone is only to obtain two out of the three biggest desirables for any job: the work culture, the job satisfaction, and desirable compensation. How much turnover could be reduced and ultimately how successful would an organization be if it could check all three desirables for employees? How committed would those employees be to the organization?  

You can see that focusing on the managers, communication, and compensation will influence all three components of Allen and Meyers OC model. The result for your organization will come in the form of more committed employees, less turnover, and a better work environment for everyone.  

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Trevor McGlochlin Trevor McGlochlin is a Research Analyst at PSI. He earned a Master of Science degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology. His areas of expertise include selection, employee turnover, organizational development, applied research, and statistical analyses. His analysis work is centered around validation, adverse impact, turnover analyses, assessment scoring, and other data analysis.