By Timothy Allinson, P.E.,
Murray Co., Long Beach, Calif.
Sitting on my desk is a wonderful photo collage of my 10-year-old son performing at the California State gymnastics championship this past spring. He did fairly well; not his best, but well enough to progress to the regional championships. After the regionals, he announced with absolute certainty that he was done with gymnastics, which he has been doing in one form or another since he could walk.
While I was very disappointed with his decision, knowing from my adult perspective how much he was walking away from, I can’t say that I blame him. At 10 years old it gets a bit tiresome to drag yourself to the gym after school for three hours, four days a week, with homework to contend with when you get home, especially when you have been doing it for as long as you can remember. I am not the sort of parent to force him to do something that he doesn’t want to do, particularly after he had given it his all for many years.
In my professional life, I’m reminded of commitment on a regular basis. Sitting on my desk are two resumes, both of which have work experience track records that display quite a range of employment activity. Each employment stay is relatively short – one year, two years, three years, here and there. This isn’t necessarily a criticism. There can be a host of reasons that cause a person to decide to change jobs, although it does seem to be much more common here in California than back in New York.
Commitment is a two-way street on the part of both the employer and the employee. Back in the glory days of corporate America, nearly every credible employer offered full benefits, meaning health insurance, pension plans, life insurance and so on. These benefits have eroded over the years due to rising costs and the advent of 401K plans and other programs. In this economy, some employers offer no benefits whatsoever; no sick time, no vacation time, nada. So it is not surprising that the work ethic has suffered as a result.
In this economy it is difficult, if not impossible, for the employee to pick and choose their employer, which is unfortunate, because having the right employer is truly the key to the success of employee and employer alike.
Organizational commitment is a subset of organizational behavior that measures an individual’s psychological attachment to an organization. It predicts variables such as turnover, job performance and discretionary behavior. Organizational commitment is also connected to job stress, employability, empowerment and distribution of leadership. Interestingly, the studies on organizational commitment generally focus on the employee, when, in reality, the employer has an integral and vested role in the subject.
There are five generally accepted rules that the employer can apply to enhance organizational commitment. The employer should:
• commit to people-first values, put them in writing and hire managers who support and promote these values.
• have a clearly communicated mission, or mission statement, that expresses the ideology of the organization, that builds charismatically on the tradition of the company.
• have a formal organizational justice policy that provides, in writing, a comprehensive grievance procedure that promotes extensive two-way communication between employee and employer.
• have a commitment to teamwork in a community or family-like environment to promote value-based homogeneity.
• focus on employee development, providing for training, self-development, job challenges and internal promotions.
ASPE is one example of organizational commitment: Its members dedicate time and resources to the betterment of their careers and the organization. ASPE’s history, leadership, strategic blueprint, educational opportunities and spirit of volunteerism are all fundamental components of organizational commitment. Without this spirit, ASPE would fail to survive as the volunteer-based organization it has been for nearly 50 years.
I would like to close by sharing with you the mission statement of my own employer. I was involved in helping script this mission statement, and I believe in it wholeheartedly. If your organization doesn’t have a mission statement, perhaps you could provide the impetus for creating one.
Murray Company is committed to being the most respected, sought-after mechanical contractor and engineers, providing value-added services while creating successful partnerships with each of our clients.
We want our clients to feel the need to share with others the great experience they have had with Murray Company.
We provide a strong family atmosphere that is based on hard work, safety, honesty and pride of ownership.
Timothy Allinson is a senior professional engineer with Murray Co., Mechanical Contractors, in Long Beach, Calif. He holds a bsme from Tufts University and an mba from New York University. He is a professional engineer licensed in both mechanical and fire protection engineering in various states, and is a leed accredited professional. Allinson is a past-president of aspe, both the New York and Orange County Chapters. He can be reached at email@example.com.