The popular image in India of the average government or public sector employee is that he comes in a couple of hours late, spends an hour gossiping, goes for an extended lunch and then goes home. Very accidentally, he might end up doing some work. This is the reason the Sixth Pay Commission, which has recommended substantial pay hikes for bureaucrats of all hues, has come in for so much flak.
But though there is limited evidence, things may be changing. Go to a public sector bank and you are likely to see more friendly faces and fewer files. The fact that many banks are now listed on the bourses and have shareholders to answer to has brought in greater accountability. Besides, most people would like to work and wear a smile if given a chance. It is the philosophy of some political parties that the workers of the world should unite in idleness that has created a generation of drones.
Young India is today confident that it can go places. And, in various surveys, it is emerging that this country is one of the most upbeat and enthusiastic. A recent Watson Wyatt study says that India leads the Asian pack when it comes to engaged workers. Engagement means that the employee is aware of the organisations goals and believes in them. The level for India was 78 per cent against 58 per cent for China. Japan was the lowest with 39 per cent.
How times change. Some Japanese management techniques are still being hawked in India though studies show they are long-term failures. Japanese employees were committed salarymen. Now they see themselves as exploited and insecure.
What makes Indian workers committed? The WorkAsia study says that commitment was driven primarily by job satisfaction (which measured employees satisfaction with opportunities to utilise their skills, learn on the job and do meaningful work) and leadership. Compensation and benefits, and communication rated as secondary drivers. India was also one of five countries above the norm on alignment with more than 80 per cent of the respondents indicating they understood their companies goals and how their roles contributed to success.
The reasons are in line with those of employees in other countries. A Watson Wyatt WorkUSA survey rates the factors that drive employee commitment as: trust in senior leadership (14 per cent); chance to use skills (14 per cent); job security (11 per cent); competitiveness of rewards (11 per cent); quality of the companys products / services (10 per cent); absence of stress (7 per cent); integrity of the companys business conduct (7 per cent); and other factors (26 per cent).
The survey also points out that the era where commitment equalled loyalty to the organisation is over. In the IT and BPO sectors, attrition rates are high.
One reason is that managements have failed to realise that todays youngsters are committed to their jobs, not the company they work for. Incidentally, committed workers mean better bottomlines. So even the hard-nosed numbers men should sit up and take notice of these studies.
How can you develop commitment? Here is what Bennet Simonton, author of Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed, said: To be committed to work, one must have ownership. To have ownership, one must be able to influence what goes on in the workplace. And to influence the workplace, one must be heard and reasonably answered by bosses. Are bosses listening?
STICKING TO COMMITMENTS
The key findings of the Watson Wyatt WorkIndia survey:
Indian employees responded very positively when asked about their commitment, which was 20 points above the Asia Pacific norm. Commitment was driven primarily by job satisfaction and leadership. Compensation and benefits, and communication were rated as secondary drivers of commitment.
Similar to their Asia Pacific counterparts, the highest level of dissatisfaction for Indian respondents was for compensation and benefits. This was followed by supervision, training and development, leadership and management effectiveness.
India was one of five countries above the norm on alignment, with more than 80 per cent of respondents indicating they understood their companies goals and strategies and how their roles contributed to their companies success.
India was higher than the Asia Pacific norm on enablement with more than 70 per cent of employees agreeing they received the necessary resources and could access information quickly to do their work effectively.