Long gone are the days when all that an employer needed from their employees was for them to come in, perform their tasks for the day and clock out. Today, most organisations fully recognise that human resource is their most important asset.
As a result, employers are concerned with the wellbeing and morale of their staff. They are also concerned with employee loyalty because it directly impacts company performance.
What is employee loyalty? This is when employees are invested in the success of the organisation and are eager to go above and beyond to see it achieved. It is different from blindly following a leader no matter what. Loyal employees follow leaders if they are operating in the best interests of the company.
Characteristics of loyal employees
They are not afraid to disagree with the boss if it is for the good of the business. They are not just yes men and women who are afraid to speak up about things you might not want to hear.
Due to the fact that they see themselves as ambassadors of the company, loyal employees champion and defend it even in their downtime.
They praise fellow employees and are quick to shout out their accomplishments. In their view, when another employee does well, it benefits the entire company.
They look at the bigger picture. They will go out of their way to help a customer even if the issue raised isn’t in their department.
Employee loyalty, much like respect, is one of those qualities that cannot be bought. However, there are still ways that you can go about improving it.
Offer a competitive wage
Employees should feel like they are being paid a fair wage by industry standards. In today’s job market, and with websites like Glassdoor, it is very easy for employees to find out what others are being paid for similar work.
Nothing will discourage a loyal employee more than learning someone at another company in the same role, worse, at the same company is being paid more than they are when they know the company is able to afford to pay them better.
If it is a case of the company truly being unable to pay more, offer perks and other benefits. These can improve employee loyalty by confirming to employees that their input is valued.
Give employees more freedom
Employees crave autonomy. Besides it having positive effects on wellbeing, it results in more productivity and innovation. It is also a good way to improve employee loyalty.
Your staff will feel good knowing that you trust them to do what is right. It will also encourage them to do their best to prove to you that you were not mistaken in giving them more freedom.
Make employees feel secure in their jobs
The company history and culture plays a big part in creating a feeling of job security. If firings are the order of the day, employee loyalty will suffer. Your staff will be on their toes worried that they could be next. As opposed to doing their best, they will be working hard at keeping their heads down and will take no risks.
In addition, productivity will take a hit because of the negative pressure. Some employees will be more focused on searching for jobs where they will feel like they have a future.
To improve employee loyalty, bosses should work to change this company culture. Show employees that you are thinking about their future by sharing clearly how they can advance in the company. Go the extra mile and do more than what is required by law and establish more than fair policies to protect workers in case of disability.
Training and growth
Who wouldn’t be loyal to an organisation that looks out for their growth? If you show employees that you are willing to invest in their growth, they will be willing to invest in you too.
According to research, workers crave training but they do not get enough opportunities for it from their employers. Training up skills your work force and helps them do their jobs better.
Training also shows that you are not afraid to promote from within the company. You will have a loyal work force if employees can see themselves at the company in years to come and the company is doing its part to make that possible.
Hire and train good managers
The saying, ‘People don’t leave companies, they leave managers’ was coined for a reason. A good relationship between employee and manager can improve employee loyalty. It is marked by easy communication and mutual respect.
Managers can set the overall tone for the office environment because employees rely on them to drive culture, propose trainings, propose people for promotions, salary increments and so much more.
In addition, only when employees are comfortable and trust their managers will they raise issues they have with the confidence that the manager will work to solve them. Good, attentive managers are also more likely to see that their reports are disengaged and work to correct that.
Employee loyalty improves when employees know that their boss looks out for them.
Don’t play favourites
Employers should strive to treat everyone fairly. This means availing the same opportunities and information to all workers. Workers will feel disengaged if they feel like their input and opinions don’t matter as much or that they are the last to receive key company news.
Being fair also includes paying attention to those ‘superstar’ employees who are excellent at their jobs but are very bad at playing with others. They tend to ruin the culture and feel untouchable because of their contribution to the company.
Unfortunately, they are a risk to the loyalty of other employees. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is famously quoted to have said ‘Do not tolerate brilliant jerks, the cost to team work is too high.’
Businesses rely on employees to make products, deliver services and interface with their customers. Disloyalty can be felt from the interactions of the employees on the lowest rungs of the ladder, right to the top. Employee loyalty only serves to add value. Improving it is therefore an area companies should invest in.