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Commitment - getting people engaged

The number of variables in the commitment (employee engagement) equation - or employee engagement - are as many as there are people. ​It is difficult to point out particular factors, but there some common denominators which have a multiplying impact on our engagement and on what makes us perform better:

  • a great culture and good leadership (prev. page) - the working environment is the condition for growth

  • achievements - allowing people to achieve and succeed, giving people meaningful challenges and opportunities to flourish

  • recognition (and reward) - appraisal with a constructive and positive feedback, guidance

  • autonomy - involving people in target/objective setting, giving people the freedom to reach these in their own way, not 'controlling' people, advocating initiative

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  • freedom of speech - allowing people freely to share their opinions, allowing difficult issues to be raised in a constructive manner without fear of retribution 

  • goal setting - setting clear and achievable goals, delegating a sensible work load, providing clear communication on expectations and setting goals in line with the strategy

  • personal development - allowing people to grow their existing competencies and develop new

  • learning - due to a rapidly evolving world, learning becomes increasingly important, we need to create 'a learning organisation', with an environment to learn new skills, explore new ways to work, but also learning from past experience (where any mistake is handled constructively and learned from)

  • social support - work/life balance, balance between routines/challenges/learning and giving a sense of fairness.

All of this will surface in an organisation with a great culture and good leadership, where leaders continuously support and empower people to succeed, driven by the strategy and development of competencies.

Companies sustain and retain people through development processesThey are all important (if strategy is focused and competency driven), but I would like to single out onboarding (to get newcomers quickly up on their feet) as being the paramount HR process. A survey said 3 of 4 employees felt their onboarding had been inadequate! This is an alarming lack of strategic focus from leaders (and HR?). Failed hiring processes cost a fortune!

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If done properly, onboarding is crucial to how long people will stay within the company, which is the first step on the commitment ladder. I believe the process starts even before the candidate commences and should last for 12-18 months (depending). The employee must actively engage in the onboarding as well. Successful onboarding provides higher confidence, better role understanding, clearer expectations, better organisational understanding and of strategy/products/clients etc. New thinking and digital tools (e.g. apps, gamification etc.) offer amazing opportunities for companies to design an individualised and seamless onboarding and induction process. Each person and job role is different. Any adult want to be treated accordingly!

A lot is to be said about performance management (an everlasting HR discussion). I don't believe in the 'annual appraisals ' meetings, but I have a coal burner's belief in an individual arrangement with continuous feedback and objective setting, adapted to the strategy, the business and the client's expectations.

A mature HR function will do the right things in the right way, adapted to the business needs and with the right HR processes (the administrative and “transactional HR” must of course be spick and span at all times).

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