• March 25th, 2019
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Enhancing employees’ job satisfaction, engagement and commitment for SME’s improved performance



Michael Adekoya-Sanni

The envisioned rapid economic transformation in line with vision 2030 towards a nation where every citizen is equally catered for, and with no prejudice to any of the classes in the society can be advanced through continuous and consistent success in the growth of small business sector in the country. Evidence abound and without any iota of doubt, small businesses within the global sphere have been viewed as very fundamental in the growth of any nation’s economy from different perspectives. 

Surprisingly, Small businesses continuously battle along their large counterparts in order to create competitive edge in an increasingly challenging economic situation that the country currently embattles. However, in order to create a levelled playground where small businesses favourably vie along their large organisations, there is paramount need to start focusing on high performance in these entities from their human resource and the related practices. Though, there have been contentious concerns on human resource issues in small businesses, why this critical area of resource may not be a priority to owners/managers, but the basic consensus resonates that any organisation is as strong as its people, as pronounced by Researchers. They further opined that, one of the most valuable resources that is crucial to the successful achievement of operational, functional and strategic objectives of any organisation be it large or small, is its people.  

Contemporary research and corroborated by close observations within the system showed that, seven (7) out of ten small businesses may be assumed to venture in start-ups and fail to scale through the next business stage.  The short-lived start-ups have been well experimented with different actions supervened. Examples of challenges that many have ascribed to this phenomenon are lack of access to finances or poor financial literacy, inadequate funding, poor market networking, lack of information knowledge, poor IT knowhow, poor or lack of government support/policies, bureaucratic process in start-ups within the nation, lack of resources and the likes.  Nevertheless, blind sight has been placed on small business human resource issue while this critical element continues to hinder small business operations, performance and success.  Like any large organisation, employees in small businesses require some level of autonomy, sense of value and belonging, while their well-being and happiness are pertinent to their satisfaction, engagement and commitment.  In the same vein, that employees in small businesses should understand the operations of the business require some investments in term of training which if not available may inhibit satisfaction, engagement and commitment. 

It is high time small businesses centered on factors that enhance employees’ job satisfaction, engagement and commitment to the business objectives.  The best of people in any organisation can only be attained through reciprocating human resource practices that motivate the people’s best attitude and behaviours. Small businesses are increasingly confronted with one of the toughest issues of keeping committed employees to compete favourably along their large counterparts in the ever-fierce business market.  It is in the light of this that the article is aimed at emphasizing the relevant relationship among job satisfaction, engagement and organisational commitment within the business life cycle to drive the success of small business.

This is predicated on the fact that, people who are engaged within the employment of an establishment have expectations towards the employment contract concerning the fulfilment of their individual aspirations. On the other hand, the organisations require a high performing workforce. In other to achieve a balance in these streams, inducement is of necessity, that may arise from different dimensions. Again, inducements inform of reward can be intrinsic or extrinsic, however, Small businesses obviously are challenged in the area of financial resource to adequately effect extrinsic inducement to drive employees’ high performance, hence it may be of essential note that small business owners/managers focus more on the intrinsic factors that may not necessarily require extra fund to facilitate the job satisfaction, engagement and commitment of employees towards their business success. This equally lies in the fact that, success can have different meaning in small business context. The common understanding in this situation is survival, achieving operational purpose and meeting the objectives which make the owner of the business feel fulfilled in meeting the identified gap in the market.

It is important to stress and as revealed by empirical research that, Systematic implementation to employment practices creates high job satisfaction, engagement and prompt high committed workforce who work assiduously with loyalty and enthusiastically, helps toward achieving the business goals and fulfilling all stakeholders’ interests. The right behaviour, attitude and ability of these employees are of essence to the business successful growth. Unfriendly workplace, non-autonomous Particularly, in the case of small businesses, the latter is characterised with informality, small size, unstructured system and limited resources, usually, these domineering points derail the initiative of owner-managers toward focusing on the aspect of employees’ job satisfaction, engagement while unknowingly resulting into low level of mental, psychological and physical disengagement of employees, hence low level performance, poor productivity, high cost of production, poor customer satisfaction, wastes in materials, low quality products/services, low profit or high loses and fast pace to failure of the entity.  

In furtherance to the above, Human Resource who are satisfied and committed are evidently the channel through which the creativity, innovation, price reducer, competitiveness enhancer, easy product reach, market intermediaries could be achieved. The fundamental tenets of “best practice” is that happy workers are commitment workers. Conversely, the more the owner-managers in small business sector pursue solely profit gains philosophy with blurred-sight to mutual gains perspective, the more the rate of small business failures. This further negates the axiom that, an aspect of driving successful small business is vested in its human ability and competency. 

In a related development, Job satisfaction is a set of double-edged swords that incorporates unfavourable or favourable feeling and emotion with which employees view their work.  It can be regarded as a positive feeling towards one’s job. Work engagement on the other side, is a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind. More specifically, it is an active, affective-motivational, independent and pervasive psychological state, which is an important indicator of various employee behaviour and performance related outcomes which can intensify commitment, which in turn   can be thought of as a force that binds an individual to a course of action relevant to one or more targets, while organisational commitment is the psychological link between an employee and their organisation. Various forms of organisational commitment exist but affective commitment dimension has the largest impact on job satisfaction, organisational citizenship behaviour, reduce employee turnover and absenteeism that can be benefiting to the complexity of small business situation. Similarly, high rate of employee turnover and absenteeism will have huge adverse impact on the survival let alone success of this sector in comparison to their large counterpart. 

Sequel to all these, it is imperative that owners/managers and concerned parties with genuineness in entrepreneurial development within the nation, and keen belief in rapid economic transformation through successful and consistent growing small businesses to consider HR practices, policies, programmes and rules that help navigate each of the stage of small business life cycle with highly satisfied, engaged and committed workforce.

As stated above, small businesses are challenged in the area of financial resources which serves as a hindrance to being disposed to effective implementation of human resource practices that best focus on their employees as main priority.  This notwithstanding there are intrinsic aspects of inducement that can place small businesses in better positions to enhance their employees’ satisfaction, engagement and commitment to the business objectives despite their financial deficiencies. Value people for who they are may not require money; the ability to appreciate others and listen to their own side of the case rather than what the owner feels at all time is key to let people understand and connect with the business values while the reverse contribute to stress and tendency to be dissatisfied and leave the establishment. Creating compassionate work environment where employees feel very valuable and committed to the establishment where work is evenly, autonomously distributed and well cared for, overwork is a trap that sets employees edgy, and on the other hand, Coaching makes employees feel positive.  This influences positive psychological effects that restore the body’s natural healing and growth processes with improved stamina. When time is invested in the employees by equipping them with knowledge to carry out the tasks, their stress level is reduced and anxiety disappears. Building friendships is considerable item. Most people opine that friends with employees are no go area.  The opposite should be the case. This helps to have employees who develop a sense of ownership and thereby committed to the establishment. Having real connection and friendships with the employees at work matter—having warm relationships is essential to health, well-being and happiness of employees while caring for employees lowers their blood pressure and enhances their immunity thereby feel high sense of satisfaction, engaged and committed to the establishment’s objectives.  Like emphasis is placed on financial literacy for small business performance and growth, it is of equal importance that human resource literacy be engaged to support and equip owners/managers in small businesses of the vital orientation to people dynamics in advancing the business performance and successful growth.

*Michael Adekoya-Sanni is an HRM Lecturer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust). 


New Era Reporter
2019-03-13 10:21:53 12 days ago

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