Encouraging Employee Loyalty

A few weeks ago in my regular, highly unscientific poll (take our latest poll here), I asked: “Who are you most loyal to?” As you can see, loyalty to self was by far the largest with boss the least.

While this may not be surprising, it should certainly be concerning. In the face of overwhelming reports, research and studies that show nearly 90% of employees are currently engaging in some level of activity to leave their current position, company leadership should have employee loyalty (not just retention) at the top of their priority list for 2010, especially as the recovery begins in earnest.

A recent article in Talent Management really got to the heart of the loyalty matter, explaining why:
“Loyalty is no longer synonymous with retention. Just because employees stick with it doesn’t mean they are engaged and therefore as productive as they could be. Employee loyalty no longer means one-directional communication. It is not just an employee being loyal to his managers and the company.

“Employee loyalty should be thought of as circular communication. It starts with leaders creating initiatives that will earn employee loyalty. When employee loyalty initiatives begin with leaders who ‘walk the walk’ and treat employees how they want to be treated, results can be tremendous.”
What are you doing to create such a circular loop of trust, respect and ultimately loyalty? Believe me, of those wanting to leave, your high-performers will be first out the door. If you want loyal employees, start with giving them a reason to respect and engage with your company. Help them clearly understand your company values and objectives and then see them as reality in every day work, and not just a plaque on the wall.

Then make it clear that their efforts to demonstrate those values in achievement of your objectives are recognized and appreciated. Employees who know what is expected of them, why those expectations are important within the big picture, and that delivery against those expectations will be noticed and appreciated will become truly loyal to you and to your organization.

2 comment(s):

At August 16, 2010 4:11 PM, Anonymous said...

Employee loyalty during the greatest recession in modern times is all about employability. Did loyalty develop skills and knowledge that make you employable in the job market.

At August 16, 2010 4:29 PM, Derek Irvine said...

Anonymous, I'm not quite sure I understand the point you're trying to make.

Are you saying companies will only be loyal to the employee if the employee is actually "employable" -- with the right skills and knowledge?

I think I would agree with that in today's job market. But I also firmly believe employees often have skills, abilities and knowledge that would be a significant loss to the company if the employee quit. And many companies today are doing exactly nothing to give those employees a reason to remain loyal to the organization.