Loyalty can’t be bought. If it could, history would have been entirely different. Imagine a world where armies could be bought from under their generals, where companies could throw money at scientists and other creatives to purchase their creations, and the best personnel inevitably gravitate to the highest paycheck, with no other factors involved.
The truth is, for most people, loyalty isn’t something that can be bought. Loyalty is earned. And it’s a coin that’s hard fought to build up, and incredibly easy to lose.
But once you have it, you can count on it in even the leanest times, and a team of loyal, hard working employees can outperform ten times their number, if they have to.
Loyalty comes from how you treat people
Loyalty is a trait we all admire, and all aspire to be. History abounds with stories of people switching sides and being disloyal, and almost every single one is remembered as a traitor, even hundreds or thousands of years later.
But almost all of the stories share something in common. Mistreatment by their superiors.
If you feel like your employees aren’t as loyal as you’d like, first look to your management teams. People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Your manager is the person who you will be dealing with on a daily basis, and if that relationship isn’t good, then it’s going to color every other aspect of your job.
Companies need two things to thrive. Loyal employees, who are going to throw themselves into every challenge and make the company the best they can, and loyal customers who will stick with you, even if there might be a slightly better product out there.
Look at Apple. Apple looks after its staff, and it’s hard to find a crew of people who are more fervent about a product than your local Apple geniuses, but so too are the customers. Very few brands can inspire the same reaction, of people camping out for days at a time, just to be the first to get their hands on the newest gadget.
But employee loyalty has myriad other benefits. First off, loyal employees are farmore productive than disloyal employees. It stands to reason, but it’s something that people might not consider.
Second, loyal employees act as brand ambassadors in everything they do, and everywhere they go, even in their day to day lives. This is free marketing, and it’s honest, person to person marketing, which is a hugely effective way of convincing people.
Third, loyal employees are far harder to temp away with material benefits. As we mentioned at the start of this article, loyalty can’t be bought, and an employee who loves where they work will take some serious incentive to consider leaving.
Bear in mind that the best of any industry are always in the sights of your competitors. If someone excels at what they do, you know that there’s a human resources team wondering how they can poach them from you.
If that happens, not only are you losing key talent that’s hard to replace, it massively impacts your bottom line. Data taken from a wide variety of sources suggests that an employee leaving costs around 20% of their annual salary to replace.
If you have high turnover, take a few minutes and calculate how much of your budget you’re burning annually replacing people. We’ll wait.
Social media and reputation
It was Richard Branson who said that you should train your employees well enough that they could leave, but treat them so well that they never want to.
In today’s environment of total openness, reputation and loyalty are even more important. With sites like Glassdoor allowing employees to review workplaces, if you treat your personnel badly, it could quite easily become public knowledge, available on a free board for everyone to see, whenever they Google your name.