Wolves are one of the most loyal animals. They mate for life, care for their young and return to their parents each year. With human interaction, they can be as loyal as domesticated dogs if they feel comfortable. Cats are the exact opposite. They are fiercely independent. Domesticated cats do not demonstrate any loyalty to their owners. Employees can show the same traits in the workplace. The big difference is a cat-like employee can become a wolf. Read on to learn how.
Creating Employee Loyalty
In last week’s article we covered how employee retention relates to hiring costs. This time we go deeper into this topic by taking a look at cultivating employee loyalty. With downsizing, outsourcing and restructuring happening in all industries, top talent is on the lookout for Plan B. Regardless of the economic climate, loyalty can be fostered.
Length of tenure does not equate to loyalty–nor does an employee who will do whatever their manager requests. Loyalty is when an employee is invested in their position and the company. They believe in the company vision and feel that the work they do is important and meaningful. This belief is proven in their integrity and performance. These wolves will question authority, but in the end embrace decisions that are made. They support colleagues and the company as a whole in public. In the end, when it is time for them to move on, they do so professionally and usually after much thought about the decision.
Fostering loyalty can be both easy and cost-effective. While employee retention is linked to the manager, so is employee loyalty. Leading by example is the easiest way to create loyalty in a team. People who work for honest managers tend to be more loyal to not only the manager, but also to the company as a whole.
Treating employees like valued collaborators is the first step to fostering loyalty. Many times leaders, often due to hectic schedules, make decisions in the moment without huddling their team. While practical in the moment, this may not always be the best way to build a loyal team. Employees who feel that they are an integral part of something bigger become more vested in that organization.
Humans are creatures of habit in both their personal and professional lives. When their routine is consistently changed by outside influences, it can get ugly. Employers that are transparent, honest and ethical have more effect on employee loyalty. Managers who respect their employees and their lives outside of the office will win the respect of their team. Managers who lead by fear or intimidation tend to have a clowder of independent cats versus a pack of loyal wolves on their team.
Employee loyalty can be cultivated at all levels. All it takes is a company culture that is based on the basic moral of “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Honesty and respect is at the heart of loyalty. A team that feels valued and respected will help breed more loyal teammates.
Next time we take a lesson from companies that have proven talent management systems and how they foster retention of talent.