Employees are being laid off by the thousands; at the same time, employers still want employees to be loyal and advertise their interest in hiring people with tenure. These two things may seem mutually exclusive, but they do not have to be.
At the heart of loyalty – from employee to employer and vice versa – is communication. Open, honest, and candid communication can increase the likelihood of loyalty a hundredfold. While this may address some issues that employers face regarding their challenges, it does not entirely solve the problem.
To deserve loyalty, employers must also provide several other things to their employees. Here are just a few:
- Meaningful, rewarding work. This does not necessarily mean working in the non-profit sector, solving humanitarian crises, or trying to end hunger. Meaningful and rewarding work can involve encouraging employees to provide exceptional customer service as dog groomers – knowing pets’ names, sending birthday cards to cats, or sending sympathy cards when a pet passes away. These actions create a warm atmosphere, add rewarding personal interactions, and build job satisfaction for animal-loving employees while fostering customer loyalty.
- Manage locally, lead globally. Assuming that you, as the reader, know that you should understand each of your employees and their individual motivations, it is important to manage their specific needs and lead or set organizational strategies that reflect your understanding of those needs.
- Hire for culture. As someone who grew up financially disadvantaged, I appreciate working with people who understand the struggle. While not everyone on the team needs this background, hiring individuals who are self-competitive, excel in their pursuits, and appreciate deserved recognition is crucial. Culture is vital in any organization, and loyalty can be diminished with each hiring mistake.
- Be honest when you cannot deliver and own your mistakes. Many companies have recently laid off employees due to severe missteps. However, few have admitted to these errors and their preventability. Owning your mistakes and admitting fault leads to honest, productive conversations and fosters loyalty.
- Allow people to work where they are most productive. Not all companies recognize or are prepared for the benefits of remote or hybrid work, but adopting this mindset will be critical for survival. Many roles can be performed remotely, yet employers may still believe they need to be done in-person. Reevaluating this approach will lead to greater success in hiring and loyalty from both parties.
Recognize employees (or designate someone to ensure recognition occurs). Appreciating employees for their contributions is crucial, even if you are not naturally inclined to do so. Utilizing platforms like Teams or Slack and seeking help from colleagues can facilitate on-the-spot recognition. However, additional efforts may be necessary to compensate for missed opportunities. A lack of appreciation can quickly alienate employees.
Loyalty is not earned merely by signing paychecks or offering great benefits and enjoyable work events. While these factors contribute, the current global situation demands more attention to building an environment of trust and mutual respect. This approach may help you build a better, longer-term relationship with your employees than you otherwise might.