Human Systems and affective commitment

What Makes Your Employees Stay? It May be Something Called “Affective Commitment”

Recently, I read that turnover in the fast food industry has reached epidemic proportions. Different reasons have been cited for the increased turnover, including new gadgets like mobile apps, self-service ordering kiosks, and routinization of tasks that takes the skill out of the work. In perhaps a self-fulfilling response to prophecy, routinization was introduced so that if there was turnover, there would be minimal interruption in service. Regardless, the turnover rate is 150% per year in fast food, and 130% in the restaurant business overall.

What makes people stay in a job? According to a recent study, employees who have high affective commitment tend to stay with an organization. Affective commitment is one dimension of organizational commitment, which also includes continuance commitment and normative commitment. According to the study by Ersya and Gatari in Advances in Social Science, Education, and Humanities Research, affective commitment is the strength of an employee’s identification and involvement with an organization. Basically, it’s whether a person actually feels emotionally connected, like they are truly part of their organization, so that when they are talking about it, they say “we” instead of “they”. Do they personally identify with the mission and do they believe in how the organization is achieving it?

So the next question, of course, is: how do you get your employees to become emotionally committed to your organization? The answer, very generally, is support and growth. Your employees must feel supported by the organization, as well as supported by their coworkers. They must feel like the organization is a safe, nurturing space in which they can be themselves and make mistakes. After support, you must provide opportunities for learning and growth. Employees need to feel challenged, like they are making personal progress, as well as progress towards the organizational mission.

There are many different ways to effectively provide organizational support and growth opportunities. If you’d like to know more, contact us for a quick chat about what might work for your organization.

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