by Angela Kambouris | Featured Contributor
All the perks in the world won’t mean anything if you don’t show your employee the respect they deserve. Corporations can’t treat their people like cogs in a machine and expect them to keep coming back. Your people want evidence of mutual commitment, investment, and personal development before pledging their undying loyalty.
Business loyalty is not dead. Having said that, it is harder to earn. Loyal employees show an undying devotion to your brand, actively defend it in front of critics and socially share its virtues with friends and peers. Loyalty is deeply rooted in human behavior and plays hard to get where expectations have skyrocketed.
Attracting and retaining quality talent is a priority for all businesses. Enticing people with all the perks can work, however, once the rose water glasses are taken off, people begin to see that sometimes the benefits are a camouflage for an un-resourceful environment. The fabric of the company starts to stink.
When people are invested in their work and committed to excelling in their workplaces, company productivity improves. Gallup reminds us that happily engaged works are less likely to leave their jobs, reducing turnover-related costs. By comparison, when people are not engaged, the company’s bottom line suffers.
“The Secrets of the Happiest Companies and Employees” survey of 12,000 workers conducted by Robert Half in collaboration with Happiness Works revealed that the most significant factor affecting worker happiness is the sense of pride an employee takes in their job. People want to be appreciated, respected and build positive relationships. The human spirit is driven by engaging in meaningful work.
What is needed in the 21st century is a new view of loyalty and what it means to people and organizations. Few business leaders would deny the importance of company loyalty. Yet few believe they can achieve it. A thinking shift is required where corporations use their expertise and focus to thrive within a market and support people to access opportunities to grow. When you invest in people, they invest in your company. To breed loyalty, companies must embody the 10 principles.
Say what you mean and mean what you say
Ensuring clear and frequent communication to ensure that your people know what’s happening, decisions are transparent. Know your people’s points of pain and what makes them happy. Consider a compressed work week for your staff so that they get time off at the end of the week, consider a bonus at critical times, be flexible in someone needing a new work schedule for a period.
In 2017, a study titled “Work Redefined: A New Age” focused on what companies can do to inspire loyalty. Despite so much change, employees are looking for more stability, protection and a safeguard against disruption. If they can find it in their employer, they’ll show their appreciation through loyalty.
Never ending continuous learning
An investment in continuous training and learning including personal development training. Help your people better themselves by paying for employees to take a class unrelated to their current position, provide employees with health club memberships or enroll in a business-wide wellness program that all can take part in.
Start dating your employees
A demystification of departing employees is synonymous with not being loyal. Loyalty doesn’t mean forever. Loyalty is like dating – you can be faithful to the one you are seeing but that doesn’t mean you won’t move on to dating someone else later.
There is a much greater payoff in working on improving the human factor than people think. Imagine every person wearing a sign every day at work that says, “WOW me – l am important”. Soliciting feedback from all your employees and gauging the pulse of your employees is an opportunity to learn a great deal about attitudes and business outcomes. A research study presented compelling evidence that employee-loyalty-related attitudes were positively linked to performance drivers.
Raising the standards
When you raise the bar and expect greatness, people will rise to the occasion. When the bar is lowered, people will also rise to the occasion. Regular conversations about future career opportunities, recognition of great work with positive feedback and engagement for input on important decisions is critical. Spending time understanding how your employee sees their own career is pivotal in co-piloting the journey.
Giving your energy and time
Corporate social responsibility is one way to demonstrate that you and the organization care about the causes they care about. Dedicating energy and time to volunteering, product donations or collectively raising donations. YourCause, CSR software company reports that reports that engaging employees in CSR programs can reduce turnover by up to 50%.
Support alignment between career growth and organizational mission
Leaders need to help their people identify links between their own professional goals and the company’s goals. When you understand the larger business context, you can more easily define opportunities to be maximized. Direct and frequent dialogue about careers, succession planning and creating opportunities should be built in as part of everyday conversation and at times, this can lead to people parting ways as they can’t jump on the same train.
Two options only – in or out?
Buy-in is not an option, it is a responsibility. Playing on the team, buy-in is a pre-requisite and having the conversation turns the questions in a different direction. Quality question such as ‘if buy-in is something you are not willing to offer right now, what plans do you have to transition off this assignment or team?’ There are no other options.
Leveraging people’s strengths is for the individuals and company’s good. Encouragement of people to lead conversations with their direct leaders to explore career-path possibilities, how to leverage their strengths to contribute, influence and add value, is the best way to do business. Everyone benefits.
Empowering people to design their work environments based on autonomy and variety provides opportunities for people to own decisions and learn from mistakes without retribution. Loyalty is fostered when a value of freedom is embraced as people embody the opportunity to learn new skills and demonstrate how they have implemented what they have learned. The human need for recognition is real and people want the opportunity to exercise choice.
Nurturing your employees to love your business as much as you do will strengthen your company’s foundation and your business will be more likely to surpass setbacks and grow to new heights.