Keeping Talented Employees – Discover what Makes Them Tick

Organizational Behavior is a field of study that seeks to understand, explain, and improve the behavior of people who make up organizations.

Two major areas of focus in OB are an employee’s Job Performance & their Organizational Commitment.

Someone’s level of Job Performance is directly related to their ability to help the company achieve its goals. Job Performance is much broader than simply doing what you’re told by a manager or following your job description to the letter.

Job Performance is comprised of 3 very important components: Task Performance, Citizenship Performance, and Counterproductive Behaviors.

1. Task Performance is how well an employee completes their job duties. Required tasks are obviously very different for different jobs – but could include abilities such as problem solving, keeping others informed, technical proficiency, handling crises, completing paperwork, innovation, or doing data entry. Task performance comes down to the efficiency and effectiveness with which one does their job.

2. Citizenship Performance is seen when an employee goes above and beyond their formal job requirement to insure that the organization is running smoothly. Good citizens show a conscientiousness to do what is needed to make sure company goals are met. When Citizenship Performance is demonstrated consistently by many employees, it can be a major sustained advantage for a company.

3. Counterproductive Behavior is any intentional action of an employee that is contrary to the company’s best interests. Examples range from inappropriate conversations such as arguing with customers to destruction of company property or theft. Good citizens rarely show counterproductive behaviors, however, high task performers may demonstrate counterproductive behaviors.

Take a moment to think about the best and worst people you’ve ever worked with. The best co-workers or subordinates I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with are so great because they show high Task Performance, high Citizenship Performance, and no Counterproductive Behaviors.

The worst people I’ve ever worked with have unfortunately shown the exact opposite. They were low Task Performers, poor corporate Citizens and showed a wide variety of Counterproductive Behaviors.

Now let’s turn to the other major component that Organizational Behavior seeks to understand and improve – Organizational Commitment. This is the degree of loyalty that an employee demonstrates to their company. It’s why they want to stay where they are instead of moving on to a different organization. Commitment tends to increase as employees get older and as they stay with a company for longer periods of time.

Imagine you’ve been with a company at least 5 years, and a competitor to your current company approached you for employment. What would cause you to stay with your current company instead of deciding to leave it?

There are 3 different types of Organizational Commitment that we see people embrace: Affective Commitment, Continuance Commitment, and Normative Commitment.

1. Affective Commitment is desire to stay with an organization due to an emotional attachment. Going back to the hypothetical job offer from a competitor – if you would stay with your current company simply because you want to stay, you would be experiencing Affective Commitment.

2. Continuance Commitment is desire to stay with an organization because of the costs of leaving. These could be perceived financial costs or long-term career damage. You would deny the hypothetical job offer from the competitor because you need to stay.

3. Normative Commitment is desire to stay with an organization because of a sense of moral obligation to the company. You would deny the hypothetical job offer because you feel you ought to stay.

Many professionals question whether commitment even exists in today’s corporate culture.

When asked if employees are less loyal today than they were 10 years ago, a large survey revealed that 63% answered affirmatively. When asked if they would change employers in the next 5 years, 50% answered yes.

When asked to identify factors that would make them more likely to remain with their current employer, the top 3 responses were training & mentoring, earnings potential, and a positive work environment.

“Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep.” -Denis Waitley