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Take care of your people and protect your business

Loyalty is one of the most obscure theories to define. We know loyalty is there. Leaders can seamlessly name off loyal employees as well as every unloyal employee that has worked for them. But what does “loyal” mean? The definition will vary from person to person, causing loyalty to be a very gray subject for human resources. Read on for further discussion of this subjective but important HR topic.

What Is Employee Loyalty?

Employee loyalty is an evaluation of an employee’s emotional frame of mind that impacts their feelings of attachment to an organization. A loyal employee is primarily focused on the success of the organization.

Why Is Employee Loyalty Important?

Our labor market is seeing unprecedented shortages. Now is the time for organizations to invest in their employees to retain top talent for the organization. Businesses that foster a happy and loyal workforce save money on recruitment costs while positively impacting their bottom line. Simply put, a loyal workforce is a profitable workforce.

  • Succession planning. Loyal employees are the future of the organization. A company can identify the loyal, high performing employees and plan for their growth and movement within the organization.
  • Productivity. Loyal employees are eager to work. They are excited to tackle new projects and are the fire for the team. They are dedicated to completing assignments on time.
  • Corporate image. Loyal employees are the gateway for free marketing for an organization. Loyal employees spread the word about how wonderfully they are treated. This builds a positive corporate image within the community.

Characteristics of a Loyal Employee

Employee loyalty is a mutual relationship between employee and employer. It must be built on mutual respect for one another. This relationship needs to be nurtured for continuous growth for the employee.

If the organization is committed to the employee, the loyal employee will exhibit the following characteristics:

Engaged

An engaged employee is personally fulfilled to see the organization succeed. They are not working to receive a paycheck, but driven to produce every day.

Dedicated

A dedicated employee understands how their role impacts the company as a whole. They live and breathe the mission, vision and values of the organization in everything they do. A dedicated employee understands that all decisions made are for the good of the company and might not be what is best for each individual employee.

Professional

A loyal employee will not play devil’s advocate behind closed doors. They will treat their employer and peers with the utmost respect and human dignity. They see their employer as someone who wants to help them reach their professional goals.

How to Improve Employee Loyalty

Firstly, realize that you cannot change employees’ feelings about the company. What you can change is the work environment. To improve employee loyalty, provide them with an environment where they can flourish.

Provide Resources

Supplying the team with the necessary tools and resources to be successful might mean investing in technology or other resources. Making those investments, even if it must be done in stages, lets the employees know that you listened to their comments and took steps to improve their daily experience.

Be Transparent

Being fully transparent with employees builds trust and loyalty. Employees respect organizations that are honest and set clear expectations. Sharing the big picture with employees also fosters buy in and support from employees. This allows them to understand how they impact the organization.

Give Career Development Opportunities

As mentioned earlier, the current generation of employees is looking for an organization where they can grow. Providing career development opportunities and a career path is key to improving employee loyalty. This needs to go beyond recruiting and should include continuing education, stretch roles, licensing and certification, conferences, management training and cross-department labor sharing, just to name a few.

Tips to Promote Employee Loyalty

Let’s break this down and focus on the basic needs of the employee. Below are tips to build employee loyalty.

Tip 1: Foster Trust

Employees who feel trusted and valued return the feeling. When possible, give your team the autonomy to make decisions. This act of freedom and responsibility will inspire a continued growth mindset. The employee will become a champion for the organization to colleagues and friends, which in turns builds brand loyalty and commitment.

Tip 2: Reward Success

When discussing rewards, it is important to look past the compensation and benefit packages. Focus on non monetary rewards. An employee who has made a meaningful contribution to the team or completed a labor intensive project should be celebrated. Holding the celebration in a group setting with peers and/or leadership shows the employee they are valued and displays their accomplishments.

Tip 3: Provide Flexibility

Not every organization or department in an organization can offer a fully remote work environment or even a hybrid model. To support the post-pandemic climate, organizations can think outside the box and allow employees to swap schedules or even select the hours they work within the standard operating schedule.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Employee Loyalty

If the employee feels appreciated, valued, and believes in the core values and mission of an organization, that employee will show their loyalty by tenure with the company. They will also be brand ambassadors for the organization, singing their praises to everyone and anyone who will listen.
Younger workers are not less likely to be loyal. Given the current climate, younger employees are doing their research regarding what company they want to work for. Younger employees are taking what they learn from more tenured generations and applying those lessons to ensure they are working for a company that can offer them the best career year after year.
A loyal employee will think of the company first. They want to see the company succeed and will do everything they can to contribute to that success. That employee might be the biggest cheerleader for the company, talking openly about everything great their company offers. They may also take on any extra tasks that are offered, or volunteer to be on organizational committees. This employee is as invested in the company as an owner would be.

Nicole Little is a Senior HR Business Partner with over 7 years of experience in the Human Resource field. Nicole has worked for the largest e-commerce company and the leading LTL carrier. Nicole Little’s love for human resources comes through as she advocates and builds relationships within all levels of an organization. When Nicole is not working, she is enjoying the outdoors with her husband, two son’s and their dog.

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