In one of my previous posts we’ve already discussed Employees’ Loyalty and its importance for proper Team Management. Now it’s time to understand how it could be successfully defined, increased and sustained.
Let’s start with a meaningful definition.
Essentially, as a company we would define an employee as loyal when at the decision crossroad he or she will always choose the company’s interests over any others, even making sacrifices on personal note to some extent (be it something as small as working late, or something more serious, such as turning down a competitor’s tempting offer). The question is: why would someone do it?
We’ll need to understand several important aspects of the problem in order to answer this question.
First of all, you should remember that people of different age groups or better said – of different generations, have completely different attitudes towards loyalty. For example, the older employees, being close to the end of their career, will naturally tend to hold on to their working place and would also be interested in different social benefits. The younger people on today’s job market are known to pay much more attention to promotion opportunities than to long-term benefits. And employees in their 30’s and 40’s will usually prefer to get more money right now instead of any long-term benefits or career opportunities.
Naturally, if you’ll be able to provide employees of different age groups with what they’re interested in – you’ll earn some loyalty points from their perspective.
Will it be enough, though?
One more thing to understand about loyalty is that it should be mutual. If you are seeing your employees as replaceable parts of a mechanism, why would they feel any other way? If they live in a constant fear of being fired, why wouldn’t they think about moving to a new place before it happens?
If you want your employees to be loyal to you, they should be convinced that you’re loyal to them. It could be something as small as showing interest in their lives outside of workplace or something as direct as letting them in on how you plan to fight for more resources for your department. They should know that when they have a problem, they would not be talking to a faceless corporative representative, but to THEIR BOSS.
My point here is that in our times loyalty is much better served for small entities, such as a leader or a close-knitted group, than to big entities such as companies and corporations. People can and will act in the interests of the company not out of loyalty to the company, but out of loyalty to their manager or their department. In the military they call it a “buddy system”. People today are not easily encouraged to die for their country, but they do it for their buddies and commanders.
You can build such a system in your department. In my next post about Loyalty I’ll tell you how.