Home Management Performance Management for Agile Organizations: Overthrowing The Eight Management Myths That Hold Businesses Back
In Chap. 9, I conceptualized commitment as a pragmatic exchange between employee and employer. More specifically, the employee commits to assisting the business achieve its objectives. And in return for this, the organization commits to assisting the employee to further their personal and career aspirations. This is different from loyalty. Loyalty is more idealistic; it is based on the notion that the employee is beholden to their employer all their career—or at least for a sizable chunk of it. In return for this display of loyalty, the employer looks after that employee with preferential treatment over the less loyal employee. Loyalty is not necessarily useful—and can even be counterproductive—when it comes to agile performance.
The committed employee—the one who doesn’t expect, nor wants to stay employed in the one company for a long time—is doubtlessly more receptive and open to change. If change helps the business attain its goals, the committed, rather than the loyal employee will probably be more enthusiastic about it. A loyal employee is liable to defend present practices; their loyalty is probably to the practices of the company over business outcomes. A committed employee is a natural fit for an agile enterprise.
Rapid change is challenging for the loyal employee. The employee, loyal to their employer, is naturally protective of their familiar surroundings; they want things to remain as they are; they are resistant to sudden and large-scale change. A committed employee, with no such sense of loyalty, is more amenable to changing direction and letting go of past practices and rituals that are roadblocks to progress.
Ironically, a loyal employee may not be as responsive to customers as they ought to be. The loyal employee with their extended employment with the company, probably has reasonably good working relationships with several of the company’s loyal customers. But in the event of a dispute between the customer and organization, the loyal employee will instinctively side with the business. Their company loyalty may blindside them from considering how they can still be responsive to the needs of the customer without any negative consequences to their employer. A committed employee has a better attitude in responding to a customer need, whether that need is in conflict with the business’s policies, or not. Being committed to the goals of the organization, this employee will probably consider all options to satisfy the customer without sabotaging the company.
With career and development opportunities offered by their employer, the committed employee can advance their career, either with their current employer, or a subsequent employer. Contrariwise, a loyal employee’s career can be stunted with a longstanding employer. They may not get the growth and development needed to advance their employment prospects elsewhere, or even internally.
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