As service sector businesses we know that the biggest asset in your organisation goes home every day and you have to trust that they come back the next day. The immense knowledge of your business and understanding of your customers that your employees cary with them is indisputable. The question is why you are not more focussed on ensuring employee loyalty? The CIPD in the UK puts huge focus on employee engagement and motivation, certainly an important part of breeding loyalty in your employees.
Ironically, working to create an atmosphere of loyalty isn’t difficult. It just requires treating people as human beings, and recognising their contributions.
People want to feel valued. We have an instinctive need to belong, to be part of a team, and to feel worthwhile.
So, to engender loyalty, you need to:
- Treat your employees like people, not machines: Everyone needs a break now and then, and life happens. If people are working hard and putting in their all, they’re going to expect to be treated well in return.
- Let your employees grow: No one likes stagnating. It’s anathema to human development, and makes people restless. Give your staff opportunities to learn and grow, and they’ll reward you with harder work, and pour their growth back into your company.
- Make sure that success is recognised: People love to have their contributions rewarded, and one of the biggest rewards is having the people that you respect acknowledge what you did. Create an environment that fosters collaboration and celebrates successes.
- Never micromanage: Micromanaging is the death of creativity, and makes people feel like robots or rats in cages. Trust your staff to get the job done, and to come to you when they need help.
- Make sure everyone is correctly trained: This ties into not micromanaging. A well trained team can handle almost anything, and this makes people feel like they have agency in their jobs. So if you see people struggling, look to their training first.
- Be a person: A lot of bosses believe that they should distance themselves from their teams, but the research indicates that empathy and a human touch actually makes people far more likely to work hard and stick together.
At the end of the day, loyalty comes from your work culture. When people feel like they’re working together towards some great goal, with ample opportunity to put their opinions forward, learn and advance, work hard and get rewarded for that hard work, they’ll do almost anything for ‘their people.’
You can also do yourself a favor by having a robust leaving process that identifies why people leave your organisation. It’s possible that the things you think are going wrong, aren’t the actual problem.
For example, studies have shown that around 4 out of 5 managers believed that staff who left were doing so for better pay and benefits, but the same amount of employees stated that money was notthe first reason that they left.
By asking why people leave, you can see if there are holes in your organisation that might otherwise go unnoticed. You can also buffer this by asking your staff why they stay. By identifying the reasons that your existing employees enjoy working for your organisation, you can identify the things that you should focus on more.
In the end, loyalty is a road that runs both ways. Your employees will only be loyal to the company when they believe that the company is loyal to them.
But by doing this, and creating a culture of loyalty and connection, you can build a team of motivated and happy people who would do anything for each other. And for you. And that is something that can’t be bought.