Posted: August 10, 2004
Progressive dairy producers know that without high performing employees their dairy business can’t compete. But how do you get high performance? Improving performance has been one of the hottest topics in human resource management research for years. One of the characteristics that almost all high performing employees share is that they are committed to their employer organization and want to work hard to make it succeed. This characteristic is called organizational commitment.
Employees with a high level of organizational commitment are more likely to perform their jobs consistently and well. They are more likely to know and care about the organization’s business goals, and they are far less likely to leave for another job. All of these attributes should be very attractive to the employer.
So, what makes a committed employee?
There are a lot of factors, some of which the employer can control and some you can’t. Older employees and those who have been with the business longer tend to be more committed. People who are higher up in the organizational structure also tend to be more committed. These all make sense when you think about it, but an employer can’t really change these things much to help build employee commitment.
What can you do?
Committed employees believe that they get as much or more out of the employment relationship as they put into it.
Employment is an exchange between the employee and the employer. The employer receives the time, effort, and creative talent of the employee. The employee receives wages, compensation, social relationships and the opportunity to express their creativity and talent. If the employee feels that he or she is getting short-changed in the employment relationship, then she will not be committed to the organization. Put yourself in their shoes, are your employees being treated fairly in this deal?
One of the most consistent and powerful tools that employers can use to build commitment is employee development. Employee development includes all activities that help employees learn new knowledge and skills. On the job development includes orientation, job training, cross-training, and coaching; all employees that you want to keep should get these opportunities. Your star employees deserve special attention if you want to retain them. Send them to high quality training opportunities away from the farm so that they can grow and develop. They will respond to your investment by being more committed, performing at a higher level, and most importantly, staying with you as a valuable employee.
Richard Stup, Penn State Dairy Alliance