The relationship between HR variables

Axel Schiphof

The two basic elements of the Effectory employee survey are satisfaction and commitment. They are both important cornerstones that provide an insight into an organisation’s performance from an employee perspective. They are, however, free-standing concepts. Someone can be dissatisfied about a certain organisational aspect, but feel committed to the organisation. Someone can feel uncommitted to the organisation, but satisfied with the remuneration, for example. There is certainly interaction between these two HR variables. A satisfied employee is more likely to feel at home in the organisation than a dissatisfied employee; and an employee who feels at home in the organisation is less likely to be dissatisfied.

Satisfaction, commitment, motivation and vitality

Satisfaction, employee commitment, employee engagement and performance have a reciprocal relationship with motivation. Satisfied and committed employees are more likely to find the energy to contribute to the success of the organisation than dissatisfied and unengaged employees. Engaged employees also positively influence motivation. Engaged employees are enthusiastic employees, who are not only motivated themselves to contribute to the success of the organisation, but also motivate their colleagues. Finally, performance has a positive influence on motivation. Employees who achieve their targets or work for a successful organisation will be more motivated to perform even better in the future. Employees’ vitality also influences motivation. The more energetic the employees, the more motivated they are to do their work.

How can you influence HR variables?

In addition, motivation influences employees’ satisfaction, commitment, vitality and performance. Intrinsically motivated employees attach value to the work they do. Working gives this group of employees a feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment. Intrinsic motivation thus has a positive effect on employees’ satisfaction and commitment. In turn these have a positive effect on performance. Motivation thus has a direct influence on employees’ performance.

Extrinsically motivated employees gain no fulfilment from the work itself, but for example from the remuneration or the fringe benefits. Extrinsic motivation can also influence satisfaction and commitment. If extrinsically motivated employees only stay at the organisation for financial reasons, then they do not by definition make a valuable contribution to the success of the organisation. In their eyes, it can be enough just to do the bare minimum. Even so, extrinsic motivation can have a positive influence on performance, for example when employees work even harder to increase their chances of promotion.

Motivated employees enjoy their work and are generally less likely to suffer from mental complaints such as burnout. Motivation can thus have a positive effect on employees’ mental health.

Commitment, motivation and engagement

Motivation also influences engagement. Intrinsic motivation is essential for creating engagement. Engaged employees have the inner drive to contribute to the organisation’s success. Even though motivation also plays a crucial role in creating engagement, on its own it is not enough. Commitment and motivation together are the ingredients for engagement. One is not possible without the other. Engagement takes affective commitment to the next level by involving employees’ inner drive.

Engaged employees actively go the extra mile to be able to contribute to thesuccess of the organisation. This group of employees works with passion, worksharder, more effectively and efficiently, is more customer-oriented, produceshigher quality and is loyal to your organisation. In other words, they add value toyour organisation and because of this are the most important cornerstones fororganisational success. Engagement thus has a positive relationship with effectiveness,efficiency and customer orientation.

Effectiveness, efficiency and customer orientation

Satisfaction and commitment can also have a positive effect on effectiveness, efficiency and customer orientation. Satisfied and committed employees will bemore likely to do their best and to work effectively, efficiently and with customer orientation. However, the responsibility for working effectively, efficiently and with customer orientation does not only lie with your employees. These aspects are to a large degree also dependent on your organisation.It is the job of the organisation to: 

  • communicate clearly employees’ goals, so that they are able to work effectively;
  • provide all the necessary resources, so they can work efficiently;
  • have a clear focus and communicate this to your employees, so that they can work with customer orientation.

In short, your organisation is responsible for creating the right conditions so that employees can work effectively, efficiently and with customer orientation. Inaddition, satisfaction, commitment and the level of engagement determine to an important degree whether these conditions are fully utilised. Employees who work effectively, efficiently and with customer orientation can be regarded as extremely productive employees who perform well.


Loyalty also influences performance. Loyalty is influenced to a large degree by the satisfaction, commitment and engagement of your employees. Employees who are satisfied, feel as if they fit into your organisation and want to go the extra mile tocontribute to the organisation’s success, will also be loyal to ‘their’ organisation.They want to continue working in your organisation for another few years and will always talk positively about the organisation to friends/acquaintances, even when things are not going so well.

Loyalty influences performance via turnover and absence. Employees who remain loyal to your organisation will not leave in a hurry, unless the reason for leaving lies outside the organisation’s sphere of influence. They are also less likely to call in sick.

In addition to loyalty, vitality also has an influence on an organisation’s resistance to absence. As a result of employees being present at work, an organisation’s resistance to turnover and absence also has a positive effect on its performance.

With the help of an Effectory employee survey, a complete and in-depth picture can be sketched of the degree to which employees contribute to the success of the organisation.