The new age of work has pushed many drilling companies toward more creative ways to attract and retain their top employees. Keeping employee engaged and, even more importantly, fostering a sense of commitment and loyalty to the organization have become critical to a company’s success. Until we find a secret, magic button that generates employee commitment, leaders can focus on three specific aspects of the employee experience to drive dedication and loyalty. Provide your employees with:

  • Meaningful work
  • Doing their ideal job
  • For a great boss

 Committed, loyal employees dream about these things, so how do we provide them? Let’s get into some ideas, which I learned from the excellent book “Employalty: How to Ignite Commitment and Keep Top Talent in the New Age of Work” by author Joe Mull.

Meaningful Work

Our first strategy for employee commitment involves providing employees with meaningful work. I think of this as comprised of three concepts.

  • You can describe purpose as the reason something or, in this case, someone exists. What contribution does an individual make to the overall organization? Employees spend a great deal of time at work. Expect them to seek work that they can connect to in a meaningful way. Strive to be the one to provide that work and to help employees see the purpose in it. Employees who find connection to the organization and alignment on the overall direction get a sense of fulfillment that drives retention and engagement.
  • Too often, organizational leaders use performance reviews and feedback sessions as a means of identifying an employee’s weaknesses and helping them improve. This is helpful to an extent, but creating meaningful work means capitalizing on their strengths. Instead of trying to find the perfect employee to fit your job, consider crafting your jobs to fit the perfect employee. What are your employees good at? How can you utilize those strengths to grow your business while also helping the employee feel valued and respected?
  • A sense of belonging among employees acts as a key pillar for retention and engagement. When an employee feels like they belong at a company, they don’t just showing up to a job every day. They build a meaningful career they can be proud of. Employees that experience belonging know that they are valued, respected and appreciated in their workplace. A key component of belonging is the feeling that one can be their true, unique self in a professional environment.

Ideal Job

The second component to drive employee commitment is giving employees the opportunity to have their ideal job. Again, we can sum this point up in three concepts, all of which employees weigh to varying degrees.

  • Compensation comes to most people first when they think of obvious components of an ideal job. Fair and equitable compensation drives job performance, loyalty and engagement. Equally as important, surveys consistently tie compensation to the top reasons for employee turnover in the U.S. Considering the staggering costs of turnover and recruitment, pay attention to your compensation philosophy and ensure you stay competitive within the industry.
  • With the increase of downsizing and layoffs, employees now fully feel the impacts of “doing more with less.” It’s important to evaluate and modify the workload of an employee as circumstances change. Employees that feel their workload is too heavy (or even too light) can experience burnout, resentment or disengagement. Having an appropriate workload ensures your employees have a healthy work-life balance and show up to work ready to perform at their peak.
  • You can’t always provide employees with flexible schedules, but you can achieve some bit of flexibility itself in almost every role. Do managers always have to take responsibility for scheduling or can it be delegated to employees to allow them more flexibility and ownership? If employees have ideas on how to do things more efficiently, safely or cost effectively, are they allowed to make those changes themselves? Flexibility isn’t just about remote work. It’s about empowering employees with decision-making authority and ownership over how their work gets accomplished.

Great Boss

The last strategy we can use to generate employee commitment: Be a great boss. To get there, focus on the last three components.

  • The coaching mindset is critical for leaders in the drilling industry. We work in stressful and sometimes dangerous environments where our employees may face any number of new challenges or obstacles. Coaching is all about preparing our employees, but also allowing them to fail (within reason) and helping them come to their own conclusions and solutions. Coaching doesn’t just happen when an employee has a performance or behavior problem, and it isn’t a concept that should only be considered during performance review time! Coaching is ongoing, and it fosters a mutually beneficial relationship between the supervisor and the employee.
  • All relationships built on one very important foundation: trust. Employees who view their manager as trustworthy speak up when something is wrong, share ideas, communicate more openly and ask for help when they need it. Employees find their leader untrustworthy can become disengaged and unsatisfied with their job. Create this trust by being open, honest and transparent with employees. Create those personal connections with them that go beyond the workplace. Support their goals and listen to their concerns. These are all great ways to build employee trust.
  • Last, but not least, a great boss will advocate for his or her employees. Advocacy is all about making sure your employees are treated fairly and equally. Managers that advocate for employees listen to their concerns and elevate them when necessary. They provide employees with growth opportunities that align to their strengths, and consistently provide space for employees to be innovative and productive. An employee who feels as though their boss is their biggest advocate and supporter will be more engaged and personally motivated to perform at their very best.

When you polish these three parts of the employee experience — meaningful work, ideal job, great boss — don’t be surprised when your crews shine. Want to learn more about increasing loyalty and commitment among your employees? Check out the book “Employalty: How to Ignite Commitment and Keep Top Talent in the New Age of Work” by Joe Mull.