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'Emotional ownership' key to keep employees motivated: study

india Updated: Jan 29, 2011 11:26 IST

Attractive remuneration packages and perks are vital to retain employees but it may not necessarily motivate them to give their best to the company if there is no sense of "emotional ownership" towards the organisation, according to a new study.

The factors contributing to "emotional ownership of work" and a sense of belonging are "opportunities of self-expression, creativity in work, empowerment, freedom on job, opportunity to learn something new, variety in job and a sense of achievement", said the study on transforming the organisational culture, conducted by Manik Kher, a UGC research scientist at Pune University, advocating the concept of 'Emotional Ownership' to keep employees motivated.

"All over the world organisations are plagued by a number of concerns such as rising costs, cut throat competition, corruption, job insecurity and employees' dissatisfaction due to various reasons.

"A combination of above mentioned factors can establish a link between one's work and the organisational goals," said the study based on emulative examples and exhaustive interactions in the industry.

"A person who likes his work may not like his organisation. A feeling of ownership towards the organisation does not come by offering Employee Stock Option Scheme but by making employees experience fairness, timely recognition of good work, trust and openness through transparent management, a caring approach, job security, freedom at work, a friendly work atmosphere and good career prospects," it said.

Alienation from organisation is the "stumbling block in creating emotional ownership." An employee would give his best to the organisation only when he "owns" his organisation emotionally", said the study titled "The culture of emotional ownership" by Kher who holds a doctorate in Industrial Sociology.

The study highlights the problem of middle cadre employees, who it says "invariably get neglected" by management rendering them more vulnerable to job insecurity than unionised workmen covered under Industrial Dispute Act.

Describing it as a "sandwiched cadre", it says "their situation is worse in recessionary conditions. Whenever the market dictates manpower reduction, the axe first falls on middle cadre employees for their removal is easier than that of operatives..."

"Acute insecurity in times of economic slump makes one awfully stressful and lose interest in everything. Those working in the IT sector are the worst hit. With increased automation, and an overall rise in the skill level of operatives, the gap between highly skilled operatives and first line supervisors is now reduced considerably."

On the leadership role in the organisation, it says "a genuine leader has a deep-seated compassion for the people he leads. It is his responsibility to create a team and nurture team spirit. If the leader is only a sweet talker but crooked in action, no employee would feel like working in the organisation."

The study says that the increased practise of hiring employees on short contracts is proving harmful not only to the organisations but also for the emotional well being of people and society at large, adding that "when the value of loyalty has become a thing of the past, linking job security to performance and increasing contract period should help".

"It is management's responsibility to make the employees feel that they are wanted by the organisation and create a work atmosphere in which emotional ownership can thrive", it states, emphasising the need to change the mindsets of both leaders and employees.