- In Ghana they have been tagged as “busybodies”, “sycophants”, “Informers”, “sell-outs”, “know it alls”, “too known” and “Joe Impres,” etc.
Written By Edward Kwapong (Dr) - There are employees who will of their own volition stay beyond the normal working hours to help fellow workers finish their assigned tasks for the day without any expectation of reward whatsoever.
There are others who will come to the office on weekends to make preparations for the ensuing week’s work. They work to support the corporate values, vision and mission and hold themselves out as faithful ambassadors of the company. These are the employees we refer to as organisational citizens.
We have the likes of such workers (both in industry and the public service) who portray on regular basis organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB). Others refer to them as “Old Soldiers”. Such employees fight to ensure success of the organisation at all cost without counting the cost.
In Ghana they have been tagged as “busybodies”, “sycophants”, “Informers”, “sell-outs”, “know it alls”, “too known” and “Joe Impres,” etc. No matter how they are referred to, they serve to progress the course of organisations and although a single instance of Organisational Citizenship Behaviour may not appear to be significant, in the aggregate they have a major beneficial impact on organisational operation and effectiveness.
The question is: Why would some employees voluntarily help other workers at the workplace with a view to promoting excellence of their employer without either explicit or implicit promise of reward for going the extra mile?
Answers are many and varied, including Job Satisfaction, Reward Management, Security of Tenure, Corporate Reputation and Employee Engagement. As HR Practitioners, let us take them one after the other, with a view to ensuring that we can work to promote the factors which encourage the creation of organisational citizenship behaviour at the work place.
Incidentally, in Ghana, the Labour Act (2003) Act 651 has made provisions for such behaviour on the part of the worker albeit subtly, per Section 11 in terms of working conscientiously in the chosen occupation and protecting the interests of the employer, among others. In other words, the first answer to the question of the prevalence of organisational citizens is the provision in the law, which behoves the employee to bend over backwards to promote the interest of the employer.
Secondly, the degree to which an employee is satisfied by the job he does may be a major source of motivation for exhibiting such a behaviour. Job satisfaction can be the result of the manner in which the job has been designed as well as the availability of resources, supervision and feedback from line managers.
Thirdly, in these turbulent times where organisations are under constant threat of collapse, mergers and acquisitions with resultant loss of jobs, some employees would be motivated to be organisational citizens for the sake of survival of the organisation.
The extent to which employers meet the expectations of employees (Employee Value Proposition) may be another source of motivation to be organisational citizens par excellence. Here, we may be looking at competitive remuneration together with both cash and non-cash benefits, including insurance and share option for employees.
The degree of engagement of workers can be another source of motivation to become an organisational citizen. Here we are referring to a continuous process of active engagement with employees, right from the point of offering employment through induction, orientation/on-boarding, employee relations, emotional intelligence through to employee work-life balance. Regular interface with the worker provides a sense of mutual care, respect and appreciation.
Finally, principles of Corporate Reputation Quotient may be a major source of the Old Soldier Syndrome. This quotient is made up of:
a) Vision and Leadership
b) Products and Services
c) Financial Performance
d) Work Place Environment
e) Emotional Appeal and
f) Social Responsibility
The vision of leadership as expressed in the organisation’s corporate strategic plan may spur a worker on to exhibit OCB once he is able to align his personal ambition to that of the executive management.
A company that seeks to be the employer of choice and a household name in financial services management, for example, can easily pass for its ability to make organisational citizens out of its employees. Vision alone may not be enough. Leadership must make an effort to pursue the vision and get all workers to resolve to achieve same.
Associated with products is the financial performance of the company. Nobody wants to be associated with a wobbling company with little prospect of survival.
It is my hope that in promoting employee commitment and engagement at the workplace, HR managers will take some of the foregoing factors into account.
The writer is the President and Fellow, IHRMP (Gh).