How to establish organisational commitment among new employees in a remote world

Written by Julia Martin, Talogy Contractor

As an employee, beginning a new position remotely can come with added challenges when compared to the traditional in-office start. It may be more difficult to establish rapport among your new colleagues or to develop a sense of organisational commitment. Ironically, it may be harder to feel at home in your workplace when your workplace is actually your home. It is important not only for the individual to establish a sense of belonging to their organisation and a positive mindset but also for the organisation to establish and maintain employee engagement and to increase retention rates.

I found myself in this situation – a new hire in a remote position – and it reminded me of the common theory known as the Three Component Model of Commitment. This theory, developed by John Meyer and Natalie Allen, details that organisational commitment is a psychological state and can be broken into three parts: affective commitment, continuance commitment, and normative commitment. For each of these parts, there are factors an organisation should consider in today’s world of work where remote and hybrid arrangements are common.

Here are a few ways that organisations can address each component of the model to establish that commitment from employees even if they never step foot in a traditional office.

  1. Affective commitment: I want to stay.
  2. This category may be the most difficult to address when an employee has not worked with or met colleagues in an office or in-person setting.

    Tip for companies: Schedule one-on-one meetings to help new employees get to know their new colleagues in the first week. Having welcoming conversations and establishing relationships right away with individuals they will be working with helps to transform the foreign, remote workplace into a more comfortable environment. I know it did for me! Read about ways leaders can address changing employee expectations to increase the likelihood that employees will want to stay at the organisation.

  3. Continuance commitment: I don’t want to leave.
  4. With more positions being offered remotely, there may be more job offerings out there to choose from than ever before. It’s up to the organisation to make the work experience enjoyable enough that employees stick around.

    Tip for companies: Ensure you are devoting adequate time and resources to training new employees. It may be more difficult to learn the job remotely, but once a new employee gains a sense of expertise in their responsibilities, they will feel a stronger sense of importance and belonging within the company. Here are some ways to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance while working remotely which can be particularly helpful when taking on a new role remotely.

  5. Normative commitment: I should stay.
  6. A sense of loyalty is natural, but it’s the role of the organisation or leader to make sure that it’s a positive sentiment. This can be tricky in a remote or hybrid environment. This should also be a genuine feeling, not merely an obligation or because it seems to be the right thing to do.

    Tip for companies: It is normal for an employee to feel a sense of obligation to stay at an organisation once they’ve established their footing there. To maintain a healthy relationship between organisation and employee as well as leader and employee, offer guidance and continuous opportunities for growth. This will help employees feel less obligated to stay and instead, sincerely want to stay. Learn more about how to sustain effective leadership that will help to reinforce an employee’s well-being and commitment to the company.

It can be challenging for new employees like me to feel as though they belong in an organisation that they’ve never visited in person or met peers face-to-face. The onus therefore falls upon the company and its leaders to establish organisational commitment among those new employees no matter how many miles stand between them and the main office. Take the steps to ensure all employees – both new and tenured – feel comfortable and as though they belong.

Leading remote teams: new trends and challenges for managers

Remote work is expected to continue to rise even after the recent pandemic subsides.

Three out of four CEOs recently surveyed indicated they will not bring all employees back on site (Gartner, 2020). With this shift, managers will need to understand how to work remotely themselves, as well as how to lead a team with less structure, fewer opportunities to communicate, and collaboration enabled by technology.

Managers are uniquely positioned to help people realise the benefits of remote work by adapting their leadership style to mitigate the potential pitfalls.

This whitepaper takes a closer look at how organisations can focus on hiring and developing managers with the key competencies proven to be most necessary for success when leading highly efficient and productive remote teams.

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