What is loyalty? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as faithful to a person to whom allegiance or affection is due and faithful to a cause or ideal. Unshakeable loyalty is a rare trait. So, when we see examples of it in our daily lives, we usually don’t forget it, ever!
What does loyalty look like?
There’s a great story about a dog named Fido who showed that kind of loyalty. Carlo Soriani was an Italian labourer who lived in Borgo, San Lorenzo, Italy. One day, he spotted an injured dog on the street. He took it home and brought it back to health. He called the dog “Fido’ meaning “I trust” in Latin. Fido became so attached to Carlo that everyday when Carlo went to work, Fido accompanied him to his bus stop in the morning and waited there all day to greet Carlo at the same bus stop at the end of his workday. When Carlo died during a Second World War bombing at his workplace, the dog continued to go to the bus stop every evening for 14 years, waiting for his friend. That’s loyalty.
What loyalty does to us
When we’re shown that kind of loyalty, it makes us feel like someone is on our side and we’re protected and valued. We also feel that we can trust that person to have our backs. So in return, we’re a lot more likely to do the same for them if the opportunity comes up.
You get what you give
During these times when employees with valuable skills can market themselves online and be targeted by employers 24/7, smart employers need to up their game when it comes to retention.
If organizations want employee loyalty, they need to give it through their work culture. As noted in a Deloitte.com article written by Josh Bersin, Jason Flynn, Art Mazor and Veronica Melian called, The Employee Experience: Culture, Engagement and Beyond, “understanding and improving the employee experience is critical for companies operating in a highly competitive global economy.” Here a few ways to create a culture that stimulates employee loyalty:
- Make knowing your employee a priority: Show each employee that they matter. Don’t just say they matter. As Claire Cain Miller says in an article in The New York Times called, How to Make Work Better, “Most of us assume we’re stuck doing our jobs the way we always have. But there’s a way to redesign our jobs so they make us happier.” Talk to employees “regularly” and learn about their background, what they like doing the most and what they dislike. Be their cheerleader. Give them work that they enjoy doing, send them useful resources, link them with new contacts that will help their career and give them training. Show them that your organization is eager to invest in them to make their work life the best it can be.
- Stand up for them during tough times: As noted in an article on Forbes.com called, “11 Simple Ways to Show Employees You Care,” written by John Hall, “If leaders disregard the importance of connecting with employees, they lose the benefit of a dedicated, long-term team.” Ever hear the saying, “When the pedal hits the metal, that’s when you know who your friends are?” If an employee has worked for you for a while, they’re known for giving great service and they are hard-working and dedicated, return that dedication by showing that you have their back when things aren’t going well for them. If they need a favour, time off, working from home or understanding re: a life challenge, give it to them. Take the time to show them that you will help in any way you can, in return for their great contributions to your organization. They won’t forget it.
- Show your valuable employees that they belong: According to an article on Inc.com written by Adam Robinson called, Study Finds Employees Who Feel Included Are 50 Percent Less Likely To Quit, a study that surveyed 1,789 full-time workers from a variety of industries, “…found that a strong sense of belonging shows a 56 percent increase in job performance and a 50 percent decrease in turnover risk. The data also showed that employees who feel as though they belong are 167 percent more likely to recommend their employer as a great place to work.” People are more loyal to their family than they are to a desk. So make your workplace a place that feels like family. Support “all” of your employees when they have an idea or feedback. Even if you don’t always carry them out, make it a point to show them that their contributions are always valued and encourage them to keep sharing because they belong in this work family and they matter.
Creating a culture that increases employee loyalty and job satisfaction should be high on every organization’s priority list. The reason: It’s proven to keep the best talent. By being able to count on them for a long time, it consequently leads to organizational stability, and in turn, success. Who wouldn’t want that?