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Where Does Employee Commitment Come From?

Posted by Insightlink on 10/22/14

The importance of learning to the new “employment contract”

When we doing our research before designing the Insightlink employee model back in 2001, we could see that the level of commitment employees feel toward their jobs and the places they work had to play an important part. So important, in fact, that we ended up identifying “Commitment” as one of the 4Cs!

At the same time, though, it is clear that we are undergoing a fundamental shift in the meaning of employee commitment. Not that long ago, many employees joined an organization planning to make their careers at that one place. They expected the organization to give them opportunities to develop their skills, to increase their responsibilities and to advance through the ranks. In return, they rewarded the organization with loyalty and did what needed to be done to ensure corporate success.

These days, the idea of lifetime job security and retiring with a gold watch are long gone. Individual employees need to play a more active role in their development and career planning, instead of leaving these responsibilities up to their employer. In return, employers are looking to increase the increase the employability of its workforce by investing in continuous skill development and encouraging them to use those skills.

What does this sea-change mean for employee commitment?

Some recent academic research on this topic highlights many of the same themes we are seeing in our employee surveys:

  1. The strongest predictor of employee commitment is their level of satisfaction with the organization. Clearly, job satisfaction and commitment are strongly linked – as job satisfaction increases, so does commitment.
  2. An even more valuable finding is that second strongest predictor of commitment is the degree to which the job they do takes advantage of the employee’s skills and abilities. This conclusion strongly reinforces the need for organization’s to create a culture of learning and development as a key tool in the goal of building and sustaining employee commitment.

In addition to these key drivers, this research also found that employee commitment depends on the degree to which:

  • Their organization emphasizes doing things right the first time,
  • The work environment has few bureaucratic barriers to getting the job done right,
  • Staff at all levels of the organization treat each other as customers whose needs they are trying to meet,
  • All employees are expected to implement and apply the skills and knowledge they learn in their training,
  • Teamwork is encouraged,
  • They receive praise and recognition when applying new skills and knowledge on the job and are well rewarded for that learning, and
  • Innovators are given the chance to get ahead within the organization.

In short, the findings of this study stressed the importance of continuous learning as part of the new “employment contract” and how organizations can use career enhancement as an action lever for building a committed, innovative, and competitive workforce.

Contact Insightlink now to learn more about our innovative 4Cs survey approach. We’ll show you not only how committed your employees are to you but, in turn, how committed they believe you are to them. For many organizations, taking action to close this “commitment gap” is vital to improving job satisfaction and engagement and achieving the benefits that come from a committed and engaged workforce.

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Where does your company stand on each of the critical "4Cs" of employee engagement and satisfaction?
  • Commitment
  • Culture
  • Communications
  • Compensation
Find out with a benchmarked and validated 4Cs Employee Survey from Insightlink. Since 2001, one of the most trusted research companies in North America.

How many of each do you have?
  • Committed Loyalists
  • Change Seekers
  • Dissatisfied Compromisers
  • Satisfied Opportunists
Only the Insightlink 4Cs Employee Survey can give you the full picture and let you hear how your employees feel about their experience at your organization.


Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

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