Loyalty is a 2-way street
Friday, September 20, 2019
I often hear business owners and corporation executives bemoan the lack of loyalty among their underlings. They complain about staff turnover and how staff will move to another company—even a competitor—at the drop of a hat, their employees’ willingness to publicly disparage the company they work for, and their eagerness to discourage others from joining the company by openly sharing the “dirty laundry” and most egregious workplace stories.
In short, they depict this kind of employee as “not a team player,” undependable, and a “rogue employee.” This is not someone to be valued or incentivized to be a longtime employee.
If you can find another person to hire in his place, maybe someone younger or willing to work more cheaply, then that’s a smart, no-brainer business solution. Right?
But take another look: loyalty is a two-way street. What kind of loyalty do you show your employees? Do you disparage their behavior publicly, either in front of customers or their co-workers?
Years ago, I worked (very briefly) for a company whose manager loudly belittled me with a “Are you really that stupid?” in front of many customers and co-workers. Do you agree with colleagues when they complain about their staff, and do you contribute your own horror stories about the awful people working for you?
Do you even reward longevity among your staff? I know one successful entrepreneur rewards loyalty by giving pay raises on their work anniversary, and, in a fun gesture that is appreciated, has the employee spin a giant wheel to see what his prize will be.
The wheel prizes vary from such things as a dinner at an elegant local restaurant and gift cards, to a prank prize of “hearty handshake.” It’s simply a fun little game that all the staff gather round to watch and cheer.
When you complain about high turnover, what have you done to promote longevity and loyalty among your staff? Do you jettison your older, experienced staff and replace them with younger people in an effort to save money?
Do you prefer younger, possibly more compliant staff who will do exactly what you tell them to do, rather than experienced personnel whose business wisdom you stubbornly don’t want to hear because it might conflict with your own dogmatic ideas? Do you audaciously demand that the staff you’re “letting go” — ostensibly due to redundancy — train their replacements?
If your company suffers from high turnover, then it’s time to look in the mirror to see what you are doing, or not doing, to reward longevity. When you treat your employees with respect, value their contributions, and give them tangible rewards for jobs well-done, they are more likely to reciprocate loyalty.
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