35 (130) 2018
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Technology & Future

The role of leadership in building commitment in a company

by Jolanta Jackowiak, Grant Thornton
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Why do we buy so little when millions are spent on building employee commitment?

The subject of building employee commitment is becoming increasingly important. It's become far more than a management fad; it is now a key determinant of the company's efficiency. Organisations allocate millions to projects aimed at building employee engagement, yet the return on such investment is disproportionately low. Especially in Poland, where for the past two years, the level of employee involvement has been showing declining trends1.

So why is employee commitment diminishing if both general awareness and the spectrum of ideas, activities and expenditure related to engagement building programmes are on the rise?

Declining engagement is a clear sign that fundamental changes are needed within the organisation. However, most initiatives focus on the here and now shock action. Various benefits, benefit schemes and solutions are available, which work in the short-term, boosting results temporarily, yet providing little by way of lasting effects.

Meanwhile, various research and analyses alert us that employee requirements are changing, and among commitment-building factors, focus is shifted from individual benefits to the multidimensional potential of the company.

This means that you should concentrate on creating a solid foundation for the growth of the company's development potential, which will always defend itself in the long term.

What contributes to greater effectiveness in building commitment?

A spirited vision, strategy and perspectives of the organisation – a clear vision and a well-communicated strategy, as well as promising development trends, provide a solid basis for increasing motivation to act. By including employees in the process of defining goals, we increase their level of identification with implementing such goals even more, and thus, their acceptance of responsibility for the company. Identifying with the company's strategy gives a strong sense of being a valuable asset of the organisation, and is a clear sign of the actual employee engagement.

A new leadership model – only those leaders who are truly committed are able to involve the whole team. And their role, in the face of technological transformation, is undergoing a critical change. 'Management excellence', expressed through such imperatives as trust, providing direction, release of potential and system alignment2, is no longer sufficient. In order to be credible, leaders must face challenges arising from the generational, technological and social-media revolutions. Bringing a new quality to business, the new leadership model has a key impact on team performance and commitment.

Timeless values and a coherent organisational culture – only a system of standards and values, strictly correlated with the strategy of the organisation and actually observed within the organisation, is the real foundation for creating desired employee attitudes, and thus increasing their work commitment.

Team diversity – by focusing on creating a diverse and integrated work environment, we support identification with the company. We strengthen the position and uniqueness of the team, recognising, distinguishing and using such features as gender, age, education, experience, knowledge, skills, talents, personality, nationality and culture. Although conscious diversity management is not a common phenomenon yet, it will be increasingly important for the effectiveness of employee motivation and engagement processes.

System improvement – management (governance) systems and organisational solutions should fully support employees as they get involved in implementing the company's objectives and tasks. System improvement and focus on efficiency in the area of project management and project portfolios, process management, change management, information systems and communication, determines positive employee engagement.

There is something more ... – "Feeling and faith tells stronger to me than sage’s glass and eye, indeed"3 ... Apart from professional models and systems, there's also an emotional side of work dominated by feelings, creativity, joy, contentment and happiness. These are the true determinants of the uniqueness of the organisation, the ability to create innovations and new solutions.

An effective organisation is able to combine the goals of all stakeholders: owners, employees and customers. It is an absolute condition for building commitment. People need an environment in which they can succeed, and vice versa, high efficiency and great results are simply attributable to committed and happy employees.

1. According to figures provided by HRstandard.pl, in 2017, the level of employee engagement in Poland was only 48%. In 2016, there were 51% of such involved employees in Polish companies, and in 2015 - 52%. In Europe, the indicator was 63%, 63% and 65% respectively.
2. According to FranklinCovey's research
3. Adam Mickiewicz „Romantyczność”

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