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An employee’s loyalty is the devotion and commitment of a worker mainly informed by job satisfaction. The loyalty determines employees’ determination to protect the interests of the organization due to the value they attach to such an organizations. Consequently, several factors determine the degree of loyalty of a worker in the public sector. The working conditions, remuneration, training opportunities, and performance assessment criteria play a significant role in employee loyalty. This paper aims to assess the factors that influence an employee’s loyalty in the government sector to achieve an informed position on the issue. This article also has the goal to develop the methodology regarding questionnaire and interviews questions necessary to evaluate the factors that are relevant in employee loyalty in the public sector. The paper assesses the responses of HR managers and selected employees with an aim of determininge their stance on employee loyalty in the government sector.
Factors enhancing employee loyalty in the government sector
According to Liao and Aichia (46), the working condition is a crucial factor in influencing the employee loyalty at the workplace in the government or the private sector. Factors such as the size of the working area, lighting, and availability of all the right working equipment are paramount and have a lot of impact on the employee’s job satisfaction and loyalty. Yee, et al (110), says that the salaries earned by employees determine how satisfied they are with their current position. In turn, their satisfaction levels have a lot of influence in their loyalty. Employees who feel that their current pay is proportional to their responsibilities are more satisfied with their present positions and are therefore likely to be more loyal. On the other hand, employees who feel that they are lowly paid are less happy in their positions and are likely to be less loyal. Moynihan and Noel (33), observes that the situation would be the same to the employees who feel that their efforts are not acknowledged, which may make them lose out on the training opportunities that come with such positions. Consequently, this feeling would affect their job satisfaction and hence their job loyalty.
Kim (252) insinuates that job security is essential and has a lot of impact on how the employees feel about their current positions. As a result, jobs that are secure ensure that the employees feel good about them and are satisfied at any given time, which would determine their level of job satisfaction. The availability of training opportunities is essential in instilling the positive feelings about the employment positions they hold. Consequently, the employees who lack the opportunities for training are demoralized, are less productive, are less satisfied with their current positions, and ultimately less loyal. Chang et al. (1236), said that a work environment that has no clear channels for communication leads to a lot of conflicts as the responsibilities are not clearly defined resulting in dissatisfaction, which compels the employees to be less loyal. Employees in such positions are not productive, in effect, this has an overall impact on the entire organization or department. Trust is a necessary element in any society. Employees who trust the management are more committed, more satisfied, and hence loyal to their teams or the department. Participative management makes the employees feel part of the governance structure. They feel that they are reliable due to the value attached to their positions in the workplace such management involves the employees in the entire management process making the employees feel part of the management process.
On the other hand, employees who are not participating in the decision-making process feel left out and are demoralized which interfere with their performance. They are not satisfied which has a direct influence on their loyalty. The availability of feedback mechanisms in the workplace ensures that the concerns of the employee’s counts, which makes such employees more satisfied and results in the development of a high-level of trust with the management. Consequently, the feedback mechanism has a lot of impact on employee’s loyalty. Heintzman and Brian (560), observes that organizations that have poor feedback mechanisms promote a level of mistrust between the employees and the management. In turn, this distrust leads to a general dissatisfaction among the employees. Therefore, the communication channel is crucial as it provides an avenue for the employees to air grievances or to make recommendations that improve the working relationship with the management.
The method chosen is the use of questionnaire and interviews with the intention to assess the factors that influence employees’ loyalty in the government sector. The department selected is the front office in the ministry of foreign affairs of the USA. The district was chosen due to the high level of interaction that takes place between the staff and the citizenry. Steen (215), asserts that the quality of service and commitment to the employees is deemed to influence their loyalty. Data was collected in the first quarter of 2016 between the months of February and March and assessed the broad range of services offered at the front office department. The sample of the selected individuals consisted of 5 HR managers and five employees from the office who have been in the government sector for more than ten years. The rationale was to evaluate employees who had been at the same workstation for a reasonable period hence in a good position to interrogate themselves about their feelings on their present work situations. Therefore, the sample collected represented a good sample number based on what could be deemed reasonable enough to offer typical responses. Although there was the temptation to test a larger number of the group, it was felt that a bigger number could distort information. Basically, this inaccuracies would occur if the employees failed to give accurate feedback since they may not be fully settled on their current positions. The questionnaire was distributed to the five managers in the HR department and five employees within the same department. The questions were developed by the available literature regarding the factors that influence employees’ loyalty in the government sector. In the questions, the commitment of the employees is the dependent variable while the different factors that influence loyalty of employees are the variables.
McCrudden (66), articulated that the working conditions have a lot of impact on the employee, loyalty in the government organizations. The first question in the question would be, “do you feel that the working conditions are favorable to the performance of the tasks assigned to you?” They involve the clean environment, spacing, good working items, and equipment such as the computers, lighting, and all other physical aspects of the working area. The temperatures and the physical size of the operation also contribute to job satisfaction, which is a major component in employee loyalty. The 5 five employees in the department of the foreign affairs would also be required to answer the question; “What are the reasons that you consider to constitute a healthy working environment?” In the question, several items would be listed to provide the respondents with a wider choice and clarity for the expected responses. Although the items would be listed, the respondents would be required to rearrange in order of their importance and their contribution to the working environment. The order of importance of the items would enable scores to be assign to each item so that the total score for the question can be easily determined. The next question related to the working conditions would be; “On a scale of 1-10 can you comment on the suitability of the working space, working equipment, lighting and temperatures to your working situation?”
The respondents would require answering the question; “In a score of 1-10 how satisfied are you with your current pay and the frequency of promotions since you joined the department. The subsequent question would be, “are you proud of the organization you work for and would you recommend it to an outsider based on a number of wages you receive?” This question would be useful in assessing the feelings that the employees have to the organization and hence the loyalty they owe to the government department. Lilian and Yee-Ching (216), assert that the pay and remuneration are pegged to the performance of the employees so that the high performing employees are well remunerated and therefore are motivated. In this regards, a low pay to high performing employees may make them to feel unappreciated, which may affect their job satisfaction and their loyalty to the government organization. Since the pay is a reflection of the performance of the employee, this question would be followed by the question: “Do you feel that the salary you earn is commensurate with your performance at the government department?” is critical. “If the pay is less than your expectations, what would your expectation be concerning the amount that you feel you deserve?” The questions would have a range score of 0-10 with the lowest indicating not satisfied with the amount of salary awarded while the highest would imply being most satisfied with the current pay.
Härenstam et al. 325, observes that some organizational managements use recognition and rewards to motivate the workers. To assess the use of credit to reward the workers the questions; “is there any form of recognition that informs your current benefits regarding pay and promotion?'”.The question will be crucial in evaluating if the workers appreciate or attach any value to the recognition they receive from the management of the organization. Based on the score assigned to the level of satisfaction, the employees who feel less recognized would attach lower marks to the question with the most inferior implying that the employees feel least recognized.
In their research, research, Kim and Hyangsoo (373) found out that workers who are aware of the fact that their effort would be rewarded at the end of each project are committed and focused on the implementation of the goals. Such employees are diligent and creative for they are aware of that they will get a fair reward for their efforts. Related to this assertion, the subsequent question would be; “Are you more committed to your work due to the amount of rewards you receive? Would you be more active in your job if you won more amounts of awards for the performance achieved?”The organizations that employ this strategy have been rewarding exceptional workers at the end of each financial year. The employees would be promoted due to their excellent performance and are hence highly motivated. The employees would, therefore, be required to answer the question that; “do you think the promotions are awarded on merit and if you don’t, what do you think should be some of the considerations in the advancement of employees in the department?” Employees who are recognized and rewarded for goals achieved are more productive, happy and satisfied in their current work positions and therefore loyal to their jobs and the organizations. Such organizations are aware of the significant role that employees play. Therefore, they go out of their ways to ensure the employees feel appreciated. These organizations also value their partners who provide essential services to facilitate their proper functioning. Such partners include banks, insurance companies, and transportation firms among other agencies that provide critical services.
The internal selection technique is very useful as it provides the human resources managers with opportunities to recruit from persons that they have already know. The exercise also provides an opportunity for the current workers to acquire promotions which increase job satisfaction. Tarnoff (44) says that the positions that lack security enhance the level of anxiety among the employees which distracts them and hence reduces productivity. The observation would lead to the question; “do you feel that the position you hold currently comes with any job security? If the area lacks security, what do you think should be done to make your current position more secure?” The range of score to the question would be 1-10 with the lowest score implying a lack of job security and the highest score indicating that the employee is guaranteed of job security. Jobs with high security ensures that there are little chances of unemployment in the future, giving the employee an opportunity to focus on the assigned tasks and hence the goals of the organization. The respondent will be asked if they feel there would be the possibility of unemployment at some in future. “If there is that possibility, are you hunting for another position or are you comfortable in your current position?” The job security among the employees in the public sector ensures that the workers have registered pension scheme which guarantees them reliable income in their old age. The fact that most employees are concerned about their retirement compels them to seek positions that come with the benefits. The employees would be asked if their current position entitles them to be registered members of any pension scheme. “If so are they registered members of any retirement program within the country?” It would also be important for the employees to state if the membership of a pension scheme by virtue of their current position has in any way contributed to their level of job satisfaction.
Kerzner (152) observes that the degree of job security in the government sector is highly influenced by the political factors, which emphasize why public workers should be politically neutral in all interactions. The employees would be required to state if they felt victimized due to their political affiliation/and or opinions. If they do, how does that contribute to their job satisfaction? The respondents would also be required to state if they open to express their views on particular political issues and how their views have affected the level of satisfaction in their current positions. The jobs security in the public sector is enhanced by the fact that even in the times of layoffs in the industry, few are hiring in the government with very few or no firing. The question; “are you worried about layoffs at some point in the future? How does the fear for a layoff affect your job satisfaction?” is relevant. The issue f job security is important as it encourages more training and specialization as the individual gathers more experience and therefore is more productive. All the factors that enhance job security have a direct influence on the level of job satisfaction and hence employee loyalty.
Noteworthy, the prospects of training motivate the workers due to the chance to advance the skills which lead to better performance and therefore better pay. The assertion would give rise to the question; “does your current position offer any training opportunities and how has the training opportunities contributed to your job satisfaction?” The answer to the question would provide a solid background on how the employees perceive the training opportunities available in the department and how the same have contributed to job satisfaction and hence how it influences their loyalty as employees.
The employees should answer the question if they are conversant with the most recent practices within their area of specialization based on the opportunities they access by the positions they hold in the government sector. The employees retain focus through an acquisition of new technologies and adoption of more advanced skills so that they enhance efficiency in production. The question; “Do you access the latest technological innovations that improve your performance and therefore your job satisfaction? IF the technical level is low, what is the types of technological you feel would enhance your performance and hence the degree of job satisfaction. The organizations are aware of the fast changes taking place in the global business arena and have kept pace so that employees remain relevant in their field of specialization. They stay committed to research to ensure they explore areas of improvement so that they could meet the changing needs of their clients. On the same line, they are keen to discard obsolete technologies and practices that could slow down their organizations.
According to Härenstam et al 325, values-based leadership in the government sector involves motivating the employees by relating the organizational objectives to employees’ personal values. The questions in this section are relevant to the HR managers in the department .In that regard; the HR managers would answer the question;” what are some of the elements that you apply as HR managers to ensure that the employees are well motivated to maximize their production?” The score in the section would be 1-10 based on a list of items that are deemed to be general motivating factors. The respondents would award the scores based on what the managers consider the most important to the least important. The idea is to get the cumulative score and compare it with what is deemed crucial to the employees as a way to identify any existing gaps. The connection tells the group members how to behave so that they can fulfill corporate goals. Alonso, Pablo, and Gregory B. Lewis (374) observed that leaders talk about the values of the organizations in relationship to values of the employees so that individual employees can identify with the company and its mission. The respondents (managers) would be required to answer the question; “Do you regularly articulate the values the values of the organizations to the employees?” the question would be assessed on a scale score of 1-10 with the lowest score implying that the respondents do not talk about the values of the organization at all and the highest score indicating that they discuss the values of the organizations with the employees frequently. Such leaders focus on the strengths and character of the groups. The Leadership manages the teams by example hence continuously communicate the values to the entire workforce hence making the employees adjust according to trends in the market. The effect of the strategy is the improvement of the production and well-satisfied employees which has a direct consequence on employee loyalty.
According to Liu, Brooke, and Suzanne (386), the levels of employees satisfaction is influence by a variety of factors in the entire organization. The respondent would be asked to respond to the question; “What are the measures created to ensure that the employees are satisfied in their current positions?” The score would be from 1-10, with factors such as the working conditions, job security, training and development, communication, participative management, delegation, training and feedback mechanisms being highlighted, with the respondent arranging the items in the order the deem important. The idea is to assess the given answer against the ones provided by the employees. Nohria, Boris, and Linda-Eling (80), say that a satisfied employee is more productive and depicts a positive image for the organization. The management respondents would be expected to answer the question; “do you think you have done enough to give the employees a flexible working program that allows room for independence in the performance of tasks? Are there other measures that the management can do to ensure the independence of the employees?” The question would require the respondents to list down the steps they have put in place to promote employee freedom which is necessary for the enhancement of creativity.
Time wasting is a great avenue for customer dissatisfaction. Managers can eradicate time wastage by shortening the meetings or even circulating memos instead of holding meetings so that particular duties are not disrupted. The offices should be more organized to ensure efficiency hence save time spent in the organization and office arrangements. Managers should encourage social connections as interactions are good ways to boost moods. It would be useful for example to create an office arrangement where employees can see and talk to each other. Leaders should also encourage work-related social activities during holidays, birthdays and even weddings. “What are some of the strategies the managers in your department use to ensure the wellness of the employees’ families? Do you think the social life of an employee reflects on their performance? Do you encourage social activities among the employees of your department?” The section would require the respondents to give yes/no answers. Such opportunities provide moments of sharing which is refreshing and a good way to overcome any pressures of life. Socialization should not be confined to office hours. Outdoor activities such as volunteer programs provide the opportunity to share outside the work environment and at the same time depict the organization in a positive way.
Managers should create an atmosphere for growth at the workplace so that the employees see a future in what they currently do. The managers should not just view the jobs as sources of income, but also as places to grow and learn. The question related to the literature would be; “Do the managers create the work environment that is favorable for growth and advancement of the employee’s careers? What more should the managers do to ensure that the workplace is enhanced to improve the productivity of the employees?” The question would allow the respondent to list the answers in order of importance of the measures that they think should be taken by the management to ensure growth and advancement of the career of the employees. Jobs that provide opportunities for training and acknowledging benchmarks are more satisfying than those that seek to offer high salaries. The managers encourage the employees to learn new skills to embrace any new responsibilities that could emerge based on the changing terrain of the labor market and the needs of the citizens. Related to the part of the literature is; “Do you encourage the employees to acquire job-related skills? If you do what are some of the skills that you encourage the employees to gain in anticipation of nay new responsibilities?” the question would require the respondent to list down the skills that they feel the employees should learn in anticipation of promotion or change of duty station.
The interviewees (HR managers) would be required to answer the question; “are there clear channels of communication with the employees? If there are any communication avenues, which ones are they? The communication channels such as meetings, emails, phones and memos would be listed to determine the preferred method of communication by the managers with the employee. The answers would be assessed on the scale of 1-10 with the lowest score indicating the channel of communication that is rarely used in the department. The workers are therefore more satisfied with the overall management of their organizations and therefore are relaxed as they handle their responsibilities. Actionable feedback gives an opportunity to employees to correct mistakes made in the delivery of past projects. The respondents should be in a position to answer the question; “Do you provide a reliable feedback mechanism to allow the employees to correct past mistakes? If there is such an opportunity for how long has it been implemented?” The respondent would be required to respond on a scale of 3 depending on the avenues provided by the management for self-correction. A score of 3would suggests that the managers always offer opportunities to the employees to correct themselves.
Eyob (110) observes that such feedbacks should deliver in such a way that the employees feel valued by the organization. They also deem such comments as opportunities to improve themselves in the effort to achieve goals of the organizations. They feel appreciated and hence are motivated to perform even better in their stipulated roles. The team evaluations can be structured based on the breakdown of tasks accomplished by each. That would depend on the responsibilities entrusted to each member at the beginning of the project. Well-defined tasks for each create room for personal accountability and also eradicate duplications. In spite of different roles defined for each, the common objective of the whole project should be the center of focus.
Actionable feedback gives an opportunity to employees to correct mistakes made in the delivery of past projects. In that regard, the respondents would answer the question; “do you think that you have provided the employees with reliable feedback mechanisms? If you have provided the channels, are they exhaustive to address all the concerns of the workers? If the available feedback mechanisms are not reliable what do you intend to do about it or have you already done something to rectify the situation?” Such feedbacks would deliver in such a way that the employees feel valued by the organization. They feel appreciated and hence are motivated to perform even better in their stipulated roles. Based on the available literature on the role that the negative feedback plays in the satisfaction of the employees, the respondents would answer the question; “what are some of the negative comments that you feel could demoralize the employees? What do you as a member of the management team do to ensure that the negative comments are presented in a way that would not in the performance of the employee, how you would do to motivate the employees who have been demoralized by the negative feedbacks from the management?” The assessment of the question would be done on a scale of 0-5 based on the strength of the given answer with the lowest score depicting little action while the highest suggest the level of the measures taken.
However, good employees use such feedbacks as learning tools to sharpen skills in the areas they may have faulted .it would be a feedback that makes the employee aware that they are valuable and have the support of the managers in their efforts to improve in their duties. Schettkat and Lara (133), warn that the managers should be cautious as they articulate such feedbacks so that they could achieve the desired effects. Well delivered negative comments have the effect of positively transforming the employee, hence improved productivities. The respondents would answer the question; “How do you think the negative feedback should be presented to the employees so that it does not affect their morale to perform their duties? Do you take time as the manager in the department to explain to the employees the significance of the feedback so that it does not lead to declined performance?”
(Designed for the employees)
- Do you feel that the working conditions are favorable to the performances of the tasks assigned to you?
- What are some of the factors that you consider to constitute a healthy working environment?
- In a scale of 1-10 can you comment on the suitability of the working space, working types of equipment, lighting and temperatures to your working situation?
- In a score of 1-10 how satisfied are you with your current pay and the frequency of promotions since you joined the department?
- Are you proud of the department you work for, and would you recommend it to an outsider based on the wages you receive?
- Do you feel that the salary you earn is commensurate with your performance at the government department? If the pay is less than your expectations, what would your expectation be regarding the amount that you feel you deserve?
- Is there any form of recognition that informs your current benefits regarding pay and promotion?
- Do you think the promotions are awarded on merit and if you don’t, what do you think should be some of the considerations in the promotion of employees in the department?
- Do feel that the position you hold currently comes with any job security? If the position lacks security, what do you think should be done to make your current position more secure?
- Do you feel there would be the possibility of unemployment at some in future? If there is that possibility, are you hunting for another position or are you comfortable in your current position?
- Does your current position offer any training opportunities and how has the training opportunities contributed to your job satisfaction?
- Do you access the latest technological innovations that enhance your performance and therefore your job satisfaction? If the technical level is low, what are the types of technology you feel would improve your performance and hence the degree of job satisfaction
(Designed for the HR managers)
- What are some of the elements that you apply as HR managers to ensure that the employees are well motivated to maximize their production?
- Do you regularly articulate the values of the organizations to the employees?
- Do you feel you have done enough to give the employees a flexible working program that allows room for independence in the performance of tasks? Are there other measures that the management can do to ensure the independence of the employees?
- What are some of the strategies the managers in your department use to ensure the wellness of the employees’ families? Do you think the social life of an employee reflects on their performance?
- Do the managers create the work environment that is favorable for growth and advancement of the employees’ careers? What more should the managers do to ensure that the workplace is enhanced to improve the productivity of the employees while providing the opportunities for the growth of their careers?
- Do you encourage the employees to acquire job-related skills? If you do what are some of the skills that you encourage the employees to learn in anticipation of new responsibilities?
- Do you think that you have provided the employees with reliable feedback mechanisms? If you have provided the channels, are they exhaustive to address all the concerns of the workers?
- What are some of the negative feedbacks that you feel could demoralize the employees? What do you as a member of the management team do to ensure that the negative comments are presented in a way that would not hurt the performance of the employee? How you do you motivate the employees who have been demoralized by the negative feedbacks from the management?
Härenstam (327) says that working conditions involve the physical factors that make the working area favorable and conducive to the engagement of tasks. Pay and promotion are also crucial factors in the determination of employee loyalty. Companies recognize the employees who perform exceptionally well at the end of each project, as a way to demonstrate to the rest of the employees that their effort would indeed be recognized when they deliver the set objectives. Moynihan (78) asserts that the issue of job security is a primary concern to most of the employees in the government sector. The employees who enjoy job security are committed and perform better.
The availability of on-job training opportunities is significant in the career of an employee. Kim (384) says that the government departments commit big chunks of their budgets to retraining of their employees so that they remain relevant to the needs and objectives of the organizations. Organizational leaders can achieve employee satisfaction by giving them more control so that they are self-driven and do not have to be supervised to perform their responsibilities. Eyob, (112) observes that the effect of the clear channels of communication is that the employees can focus on the functions of the organization and are hence more settled which enhances their production capacity. They also deem such feedbacks as opportunities to improve themselves in the effort to achieve goals of the organizations. A negative feedback could highly demoralize an individual within an organization.
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