Rational and Emotional: The Two Factors of Employee Commitment

by: Nichole Gunn December 15, 2010

Employee commitment is based on two factors: rational and emotional. The rational aspect of commitment is based on the rudimentary, such as salary, monetary benefits, and job growth potential and development. The emotional aspect on the other hand is based on the worker’s ethics, beliefs, and satisfaction in regard to his/her job choice.

Although it can be tricky to meld both commitment factors into a neat little package that will benefit and satisfy both employees and employers, accomplishing this feat offers a work environment that is idyllic.

Writing for Engagement Strategies Magazine, Jack Phillips and Lisa Edwards note that "employees may be committed to the organization because it fulfills a logical and rational need to provide an income or source of financial stability." They add, "An employee may also be committed to a job because it serves a long-term purpose related to career goals or professional needs."

According to Engagement Strategies, emotional commitment outweighs rational commitment by four times in its ability to impact an employee’s performance. But, in the U.S. workforce, only 11% feel this strong level of commitment.

Whether emotional or rational, the weaker the commitment the less likely an employee will remain loyal and stay on board.

Gaining control of employees’ emotional commitment takes more ingenuity on the employers’ part. Possible solutions include: offering educational programs that will help employees, especially those with low morale, to increase job responsibilities and engagement; and offering creative incentives such as a flexible workweek. These strategies and others will help enhance employee satisfaction, thereby helping to ensure employee retention.


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About Nichole Gunn