Being committed helps you stay focused on your work. In turn, it helps your employer feel confident to invest in your development. So how can you show commitment – and how do you improve this behaviour?
What is commitment?
In work, commitment means being dedicated to doing your job to the best of your abilities. While it’s possible to show commitment simply by being highly professional about work, often the most committed people are those who share the goals, ideas or beliefs of their employer.
Commitment is usually related to time: you might be committed to a three-month project, or have a long-term commitment to becoming an electrical engineer. And employers want to know that you’ll be committed to completing the tasks or projects you work on. Especially when they’ve invested in a training programme or apprenticeship.
On a subtler level, employers also want people who are committed to representing their values – particularly in public-facing roles. Anyone working at HPC, for example, is expected to respect and follow the HPC project values: respect, clarity, solidarity, humility and positivity.
Many employers rate commitment highly. For major HPC employers including G4S Facilities Management (UK), Cavendish Nuclear, and EDF, it’s a top three behaviour. Read more about the top five behaviours employers are interested in.
Being committed to a role usually ties into other behaviours too. Committed staff are often more willing to learn. And they may be happy to take on additional responsibilities. They may also be more motivated to be adaptable: for example, working overtime to ensure a project doesn’t slip.
Examples of commitment in action
Relationships at work – just like those in love and friendship – work best when both sides are committed. Let’s look at a few examples of the difference commitment can make.
Ross and Maja are working to deliver a cabling project when they discover an unexpected pipe run, which brings work to a halt. The project faces a delay but it’s late in the afternoon, so Ross goes home.
Maja demonstrates greater commitment. She works a couple of extra hours seeking advice, and flagging up the issue with managers. Before she goes home that day, she’s come up with an alternative plan and slashed the amount of lost time. The business benefits, and Maja’s commitment is noticed.
Liam’s CV shows that he dropped out of two different degree courses. He’s finding it hard to get interviews, and hasn’t yet been offered any jobs in the industry he wants to work in.
Employers may be questioning Liam’s ability to commit. He can improve his chances by working consistently towards his goal. Holding down a job. Completing relevant courses. Or volunteering for relevant clubs or organisations – all these will help to show that Liam’s committed to his new direction.
Megan was working for her employer for 18 months before needing treatment for an illness. The company has shown commitment by keeping her on full salary, then adapting her role to help her get back to work. In return, Megan feels greater loyalty. And is even more committed to the company and her work on her return.
Why is commitment important in the workplace?
The examples above show that commitment is valued – and often rewarded – in the workplace. Take this recent job ad for a Digital Engineer Apprentice at HPC – notice how commitment is alluded to in different ways in the section on skills required:
- Ensures timely decision making, driven off data
- Demonstrates commitment to work to processes
- Promotes the values of the project
- Genuine interest in construction and technology
- Progressive innovative attitude
Employers make significant investments in their people. It costs money to hire staff. And it takes time and resources to train and develop them with the skills they need to perform their job. Employers are happy to do it, but they want to know that they’ll get something back. Commitment is a reciprocal arrangement.
Demonstrating commitment is about more than just sticking with your employer beyond an apprenticeship though. Workers who commit are more likely to share the organisation’s values, so they may be more highly motivated. They may be more able to manage themselves and their own time. And they may be committed to supporting their colleagues or teammates. These are all important abilities and behaviours if you want to do well and progress in your career.
Commitment is particularly important when you’re working on infrastructure projects – like Hinkley Point C (HPC) – where the public will depend on the results for years to come. At HPC, we are committed to providing a future source of low-carbon energy – and helping the UK meet its net-zero targets. We want people working here who are committed to the same goals and values.
How might you have demonstrated good commitment at school or college?
It’s hard to achieve much in life without showing commitment. Look back, and you’ll probably find lots of examples. If you finished school or college with some qualifications, that shows great commitment to a long-term project! If you’re in further or higher education, or on a vocational course, you're showing a commitment to taking your skills or knowledge further.
You may already have demonstrated commitment to the career direction you want to take. For example, if you want to work in construction, perhaps you’ve worked holiday or part-time jobs in a relevant trade. You may have sought careers advice or attended open days to learn more about an industry or role. Doing so shows great commitment to your chosen path – and you should bring this up when talking to employers at careers fairs or in an interview.
Commitment is fundamental to good relationships between friends, families and partners too. Perhaps you’ve gone above and beyond for the friends you really care about. Maybe you’re committed to a sport, hobby or other interest. Have you attended clubs, or travelled to tournaments? Maybe you’ve arranged an event of your own to raise money for a cause you believe in? These are all examples of commitment in your own life.
How can you develop your commitment?
The easiest way to develop commitment is to find a career, cause, idea or person that really resonates with you. If you believe in the work you’re doing, or the direction you’re heading, you’ll be far more committed to sticking with it.
If you have a passion, see if you can develop it. Start a band or a business. Join an interest group you support. Or channel your energy into your career.
It’s important to understand that you may not feel committed to something from day one. It may take time to learn the strengths of an organisation. Or understand the importance of your role within it. It can also take time for an employer to show their trust or commitment to you.
Try to avoid any career mis-steps by understanding what the role you’re interested in is like on a day-to-day basis. Learn about the HPC project. Watch films on YouTube. And talk to apprentices at careers fairs about their own experiences. Also ask around friends to see if any of them, or their parents or carers, have worked at HPC.
It’s also possible to commit to a job or a course even if you don’t love it. Sometimes it’s helpful to focus on the bigger picture. So while you might find elements of a course boring, for example. But remembering why you need the skill or the qualification in the long run will help you stay committed.
Exercises to help you develop this behaviour
- Develop your commitment by concentrating on positive habits – for example, not surfing the internet when you’re meant to be studying.
- Break down complex or long-term tasks to focus on the smaller successes as they come along. Try and do this at work, in education or training, but also everyday life.
- Make yourself accountable to someone – like a partner or mentor, or your colleagues. This can give you a valuable source of feedback and advice. But also greater motivation to commit and achieve your goals.
Am I committed?
Things don’t always go smoothly. If you find your enthusiasm waning, it can help to take stock of how you feel. Try writing down the good and bad things about your current job or situation. If there are lots of negatives, think about which ones might be temporary, and which ones you have the power to change. Considering all the ways to improve your situation can be a way to drive positive change and re-commit to your goals.
How can you demonstrate commitment?
It’s straightforward to demonstrate commitment on a CV by including courses, qualifications, activities and jobs – particularly if you’ve worked hard at them or stuck with them for a long time.
But employers will also want more detail on how you committed to these. So ahead of any meeting or careers fair, have a couple of examples you can talk about. For instance, consider any obstacles you faced when working on a project or for an employer – and how your commitment helped you work around them to get things done… Perhaps you ended up achieving more, as a result! Share any success stories that came about as a result of yours – and others’ – commitment.
An interview or a careers fair is also an opportunity in itself to show commitment. Turn up on time. Make sure you’ve researched the project, employers and any roles you’re interested in ahead of the day. Demonstrate your research by asking insightful questions. And if you don’t have an answer to a question an employer asks you, don’t be afraid to flip it back and ask the employer for suggestions. This shows your commitment to developing your skills and knowledge.
In the same way, if you’re not selected for interview, or are unsuccessful this time round, politely ask the employer for feedback. It shows commitment and will give you an idea of the skills you need to develop. They may also be able to provide valuable suggestions for your next steps. Not only could this improve your employability, but following up will show commitment should you reapply. So make sure to highlight this in your covering letter!
Demonstrating commitment during Covid-19
The Covid-19 lockdown created big obstacles to people’s work and personal plans. While some jobs became impossible, and many events had to be cancelled, many people found creative ways to overcome challenges and get things done.
Under these circumstances, staying on top of college work, keeping fit and maintaining friendships required real commitment. If you managed it, well done – and don’t forget to share this as an example with employers.
Commitment often comes naturally, but you can read more about how to develop and maintain this behaviour in the links below:
Commitment crosses many other skills and behaviours in the workplace.
Committed employees are usually good at managing their own time – and the time of those they manage. Read more about time management.
If you’re committed to developing your skills and career, you’re willing to learn. Employers value people who want to improve themselves or take on additional responsibilities because it demonstrates they’re committed to a career or industry. Read more about demonstrating willingness to learn and responsibility.
Committed people are often more adaptable by nature. If you know you want to become a nuclear-grade welder, for instance, you’ll be willing to adapt your circumstances and travel for training. Maybe even follow your career around the world to make the most of the opportunities. Read more about adaptability.
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