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Employee Loyalty 2 How long have you been at your current job?

Do you plan to stay there until you retire? If so, in todays business world you are becoming an endangered species. The average time spent at a job is decreasing rapidly. Having loyal employees is outdated. In addition, having a 30+-year employee is unheard of in this day and age. Employees now jump ship for a better paying job, better benefits, or even better hours without thinking twice about it. They feel their company no longer cares about them, so why should they remain loyal? Employers in the past have had monetary incentives and nice bonuses, but they will have to come up with fresh ideas to retain todays employee. So, how do we keep our current employees? According to Rick Dacri, organizational consultant, The quick and simple answer is that companies take care of their employees. This is not a warm-and-fuzzy, pie in the sky response. This is a pragmatic, bottom-line approach to the business (Dacri, 2005). If employees feel that they are being taken care of and wanted, there is no reason for them to leave their current place of employment. This sounds like a no-brainer, but how do companies go about accomplishing this task? Putting more money into an employees pocket is a way of taking care of them. However, it is not always feasible or cost-effective for a company to give away free money all the time. Charles R. McConnell writes, There are also a number of important retention incentives that dont involve putting more money into the employees pockets. These can include a job-posting program by which employees get the first look at positions that open up. Secondly, the opportunity for internal job transfers. Lastly, a clear, and well

Employee Loyalty 3 publicized and honestly implemented policy of promotion of growth and promotion within the organization (McConnell, 2007). These simple steps should be implemented immediately. There is no reason why they cannot work to help keep your employees working for you for years to come. With the ever-increasing world of downsizing and outsourcing, a new problem has been created. Employees no longer feel they can trust companies. They feel their job may be done away with completely, or sent overseas. Without trust how can an employee feel loyal to someone that he or she may not be working for tomorrow, next week or maybe even next year. With the baby-boomers, getting close to retirement age and their feeling of uncertainty about retiring with their company there are ways to make their lives easier. Many employees at this age want to work part-time, job-share, or telecommute. They are also interested in sabbaticals, unpaid time off, and released time for community projects. Consider any of these offerings, as well as phased retirement, which lets employees reduce their hours in stages rather than all at once (Harvard Business Essentials 2002, p.72). What this does is allow a company to keep their employees, but at the same time have them work less. This looks good on paper, because by offering these older employees incentives the company will be saving itself a lot of money. This will also inspire the employees behind the boomers to take advantage of these incentives. Overall, it will help to cut down on mandatory downsizing and the employees will feel a lot better if they have choices in cutting their own hours. So, why do employees leave? What makes them disloyal, from the companys standpoint anyway? There are several reasons employees leave their present company.

Employee Loyalty 4 Although there may not be a solution for every reason, there are ways to slow down employee departure before it even begins. One thing that should be done prior to hiring an individual, but not practiced often enough, is to match a potential candidates expectations with the job realities. Matching a candidates expectations with the job can be done by allowing team members to interview candidates or hiring from a pool of current employees, says Leigh Branham a management consultant (Branham, 2005, p.42). This way there are no surprises when the employee settles into their new position. They cannot say that this is not what they expected. Going through the hiring process this way should help companies slow down employee departure. Establishing relationships can also be helpful in promoting employee loyalty. This may take time but it is well worth it. With supervisors and managers establishing relationships with employees, this cuts out a little bit of the guessing game when it comes to work performance. Managers and supervisors will know who is the best person for certain jobs and can hand out assignments accordingly. One way to accomplish this is by aligning the companys goals with the employees career goals. When a company helps its employees develop expertise that furthers their professional development and enables the company to address its thorniest challenges, both types of loyalty align powerfully. In addition, focusing on relationships can be helpful. For many employees, loyalty is born or cemented through employees and their managers or colleagues, says Lauren Keller Johnson, a business writer from Massachusetts (Johnson, 2005).

Employee Loyalty 5 Establishing relationships will not be an easy task, but once they are established the company and employee alike will enjoy the mutual benefit not to mention the added bonus of reestablishing trust. Having loyal employees also has an effect on having loyal customers. If the employees go beyond the norm to help customers, then you are guaranteed to gain a loyal customer base. The result is a successful and profitable business. Customers will be overjoyed to be able to speak to employees that are determined to help them with their problems. Frederick Reichheld states, That by investing heavily in the development and training of employees, constructing career paths and organizational structures companies gain employee loyalty. As employees stay on, they get better at their jobs and become better acquainted with their customers (Reichheld, 2006, p.303). This in turn gives a company a loyal customer base. Customers know that they will receive excellent service and will be sure to tell their friends. Employee loyalty will help a company have a bright future and help to expand the companys customer base once the existing customers have spread the word. Employers need to help employees feel good about their company. A sense of pride needs to be instilled and that in turn will lead to loyal employees. What can be done to help employees feel good about going to work? James Harris writes, Opening communication between all levels of your organization and creating partnerships between all employees built upon trust, equality, and sharing are good places to start (Harris, 1996). Keeping all employees in the loop so to speak eliminates the feeling that something is going on behind their backs. Most employees feel that management does not

Employee Loyalty 6 include them in the everyday happenings of the company because they do not care what they think. Keeping communication open will squash this feeling. Rewarding employees equally for the same amount of work accomplished is very important also. Employees will know that they are being treated fairly and that there are no exceptions to the rules. These are just a couple of suggestions to get a company started on changing an employees mind about where they work. The employer should start to notice a change for the better in employee attitude and work performance. When an individual feels good about what they are doing, the results are usually good. Getting employees to feel proud about where they work is essential to the improving their loyalty. Concentrating on employee retention will help your campaign for employee loyalty. Figuring out ways to keep employees is the first step. Although it will be tough, one way to accomplish this task, according to Mary F. Cook, president of a human resources management consulting firm in Denver, is for U.S. companies to provide a flexible workplace and with a flexible management style (Cook, 1992, p. 17). In todays work environment, the old rules have to change. Companies can no longer say, Do what I tell you to do or you are fired. Todays employee will beat them to the punch and just quit. Companies will have to make adjustments to the way things used to run. That means possibly implementing a 4-day work schedule, or arranging schedules so single parents can see their kids off to school and pick them up. Managers will have to adjust their management style. Instead of having the attitude of, What I say goes because I am the boss, they should allow the employee to offer input or at least let them sit in on the

Employee Loyalty 7 planning stages of a large project. Having a fresh set of eyes may help the company get over the hump that they could not get over prior to the employees involvement. Knowing that they are included will boost the employees confidence and they will feel that they are not working in such a bad place after all. Employee retention will increase and so will morale. According to Stephen Lock and Frank Wells, Reasons for leaving a company can be categorized into three groups. There are those, which originate primarily with the individual concerned; there are those, which are stimulated by the employer, and finally there are external forces, which can persuade someone to take action (Lock & Wells, 1996, p. 258). If a company analyzes these reasons that employees leave and find a way to correct them they may be able to persuade the employee to stay. Preventing an employee from leaving may not be the result in all cases, but at least the company will know what they are dealing with and will be able to learn from their mistakes to help prevent any mass departures in the future. Companies need to continue to work on ways to keep their best people. It goes without saying that having the best will improve the company in many areas. Production and profits are the big two. Three principles that can be used to keep your best people are as follows; to make sure that employees understand business priorities and encourage them to be equally clear about their personal priorities. Secondly, to recognize and support employees as whole people with important roles outside the workplace, and finally continually experiment with how work is done, according to Harvard Business Essentials (Harvard Business Essentials, 2002, p. 125) Companies that concentrate on

Employee Loyalty 8 keeping the best people around make the work environment a lot more pleasant. It will not take a lot for an employee to get out of bed in the morning and head off to work. They will be full of pride knowing that they are one of the best when it comes to the companys employees. If employees are expected to be long-termers, companies can justify investing more in them, says Frederick Reichheld. Companies can teach employees to do the right thing when it comes to customers (Reichheld, 1996, p. 11). This in turn will lead to happier customers. Happier customers mean more profits. The higher profits will spill over to the employees. The employees now realize they have teamed up with a winning formula that will put money in their pockets. There will be no need to search for another job, because things at your current job could not be better. Now, this sounds like a perfect world, but it is not. If companies put forth the time and effort toward their employees it will help the employees grow with the company. Being able to move up is one of the things that could keep an employee from leaving. As long as they no there is room for opportunity they will do whatever is necessary to accomplish the companys goals. It is true that no matter what you do for some employees, they will never be satisfied. There will always be that one employee that makes trouble. It is a very difficult task for companies to go out of their way to make sure that they do everything within their power to retain their present employees and to ensure employee loyalty. The time and money necessary to accomplish this could take away from the daily operations of the business. Besides, what is the guarantee that an employee will not leave anyway even after the company has fulfilled its part of the bargain.

Employee Loyalty 9 Employee loyalty is definitely something that needs to be worked on. Some companies do not realize that they could be the problem and not the employee. They should not let themselves continue to do things the way they always have. This could lead to disaster and employee dissatisfaction. Ultimately, this could lead to employee departure which companys are trying to avoid. Simple things like the way you talk to an employee, and saying thank you for a job well done could go a long way. Is there a magic formula out there that will keep employees loyal? No, but there are still several ways to prevent them from becoming disloyal and they should be practiced everyday. Companies should place keeping employees satisfied at the top of their list. After all, if they do not have happy employees eventually they will not have any employees at all. Companies hesitating to satisfy employees is understandable. What guarantee do they have that what they do will keep the employee from looking elsewhere? There is no guarantee that an employee will not leave, but a company should do everything in their power to keep them, as long as the employee is worth the effort. Granted mistakes may be made, but that is the price of attempting to accomplish your goal. There are additional benefits to having loyal employees. With them staying

around longer, they will have more knowledge. With this additional knowledge, they will be more productive and ensure that the company has continued success. In addition, having an old-timer around will help you save on training cost and time needed for training. The new employee will be taught how things are done the right way by a veteran employee. With the current state of the economy, it is imperative that companies do

Employee Loyalty 10 whatever it takes to keep employees loyal. Without them, they will lose their competitive edge and will not be able to compete with other businesses. In the end, employee loyalty needs to be brought back to life by employers. It will be mutually beneficial to both parties. The company will have a stable work environment with satisfied employees, and employees will not hesitate to go all out for THEIR company.

Employee Loyalty 11 References: Branham, L. (2005). The seven hidden reasons employees leave: How to recognize the subtle signs and act before its too late. New York: American Management Association. Cook, M. F. (1992) The AMA handbook for employee recruitment and retention. New York: AMACOM Books. Dacri, R. (2005). Employers may have killed company, but they can get it back. Retrieved April 12, 2008. http://business.mainetoday.com/yourbusiness/050624dacri.shtml Harris, J. (1996) getting employees to fall in love with your company. New York: AMACOM Books. Harvard Business Essentials: Hiring and keeping the best people. (2002). Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Johnson, L. K. (2005). The new loyalty: Make it work for your company. Harvard Management update, 10, Retrieved April 12, 2008. from http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5000.html Lock, S. & Wells, F. (1996). Fraud and Misconduct in Medical Research. London: BMJ Publishing Group McConnell, C.R. (2007). Recreating company loyalty. Retrieved April 12, 2008, from http://www.nfib.com/object/IO_33002.html

Employee Loyalty 12 Reichheld, F. F. (1996). The loyalty effect: The hidden force behind growth, profits, and lasting profits. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Reichheld, F. F. (1996). The Quest for loyalty: Creating value through partnership Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.