This is part two of a two-part series on the importance of developing and maintaining loyal employees. In part one, we explored why every company should focus on having loyal employees and how doing so contributes to its revenue. Part two offers tips of how to develop loyal employees.
When it comes to developing loyal employees, it’s not all about money. Often, senior management thinks that all it takes is a bigger paycheck to keep talented employees around. They often rely on the golden handcuffs, making it difficult for well-compensated employees to leave. But think about that for a second — they may stay, but do you really want your employees to feel like they are hostages? What do hostages do at the first possible opportunity? They flee!
So how do you develop loyal employees, the kind that wants to stick around and not just for a bigger paycheck? Here are just a few tips to get your business on its way.
1. The top way you inspire loyalty in your employees is through reciprocation. Be loyal to them. Let your employees know they are important to you. Treat them like they are humans and that you care about them. Ways to do this include rewarding good work and praising their efforts. As they say in parenting circles to encourage good behavior for children, “Catch them doing good.” Rather than only alerting employees for unsatisfactory performance, find something positive they have done and mention it. Another way is being flexible when their personal lives need attention. Don’t enforce rigid time-off policies. If your boss refused to give you a day off when your wife is in the hospital, how would you feel about that company?
2. Create a challenging but supportive environment that treats employees fairly. Remember the saying that “Employees don’t leave their job, they leave their manager.” If employees do not feel challenged and supported in their efforts, they feel unappreciated. Employees who feel unappreciated rarely stick around. As do employees who feel they’ve been treated unfairly. If you really want employees to resent the company, treat some better than others. Support your employees by providing job training, growth opportunities and asking about their career goals.
3. Get rid of the disloyal, negative employees. No matter how you treat them, some employees will always complain and seem to revel in negativity. That kind of behavior can bring down co-workers and can create a negativity vortex, sucking in other people in the office. Get rid of those people. You don’t need that negativity and they will never become loyal employees. Moods are contagious and if you have too many people who thrive on negativity, your office will become a toxic environment as well.
4. Have transparent and open communication with your employees. Employees hate to be left in the dark. Share the big picture with them. Get buy-in for the goals for your company. Build a team where everyone, no matter what the level, is invested in the success of your business. This can take various forms, from company-wide meetings, to newsletters, to daily stand-up meetings by department.
Share the victories with them. Emulate The Ritz-Carlton, where employees of every department in every hotel in the world gather every day for 15 minutes to share “wow stories.” These are tales of people who went above and beyond for customers.
These stories motivate employees, bond them in the goal of providing excellent service, and recognize those employees that provided it.
In my experience, the majority of people really do want to feel part of a team and like to be loyal to their companies. Don’t make it hard for them to do so.