Businesses exist for profit, and there is really no reason why they need to motivate or cultivate employee loyalty. Right? The answer to that is, of course, WRONG! It is much better for a business to treat its workers right and receive some loyalty in return than to be in constant recruitment mode.
Loyalty Means Success
Most employers understand that their workers are the back bone to the business. They know that loyal employees can help a company weather economic storms and keep a business productive even in a market downturn. In today’s world, the businesses that succeed and have longevity understand the importance of a loyal workforce. That said, there are several employers who are still uncertain how to cultivate and maintain employee loyalty. If you're one of them, this article has 10 suggestions to get you started.
One of the key motivating factors to human beings is recognition. Most employees are willing to go the extra mile for a company if they are recognized. The beauty about recognition is that it does not have to cost the company a dime. Sometimes an appreciation mentioned in the company newsletter, recognizing an employee of the month, issuing gift certificates, rewarding employees for implemented suggestions, and having social events such as birthday recognition or a simple thank you in a staff meeting can go a long way to appease this human need to feel appreciated.
2. Career Growth
When employees perceive that there is room to grow and advance in a company, they will be motivated to stay. These days most persons are cognizant of the need to garner more knowledge and to update their qualifications. If a company is not helping employees in this vein, its employees may look for a company where policies are more flexible in this area.
3. Educational Assistance
A positive message is sent to employees when employers allow them to not only advance themselves career-wise but also if the company assists them in their educational efforts. The message is, I care about your educational goals and I am willing to help. Usually, this weighs heavily in the loyalty stakes with employees.
4. Career Planning Assistance
There are several employees who are working assiduously at their jobs but who are desperately unhappy. They do it because they have to. They have no idea what on earth they want to be doing, so they sink into a kind of apathy that usually reflects on their output. To counteract this, companies can offer career planning assistance, have workshops, or arrange individual counselling sessions where employees can ascertain what they really want to do career-wise.
5. Employee Empowerment
Several of your employees wish they had the ability to control and organize their workflow. Doing this in designated parameters will give them an opportunity to demonstrate their competencies. As long as the job gets done in a timely and acceptable manner, many job functions are flexible enough to allow this. After reading several case studies on companies that allow this flexibility we have found that when companies empower employees in this area, they can expect to record an increase in productivity.
6. Employer Feedback and Leadership
The employer who listens and provides clear direction, expectations and ongoing feedback to employees can successfully motivate them to follow. Communication is very important in human relationships and even more so in a company; clear communication and good leadership at all levels are very important to workers.
7. Fair Compensation
While work should be enjoyable, in the end one of the primary drivers to work is the paycheck. Employers who pay a fair, competitive wage for a job can create loyalty as well as motivate employees to perform at their peak.
8. Balancing Work and Life
Balancing work/life issues is a constant juggle for most employees because they do not exist in a vacuum. There is life after work, and when this balance is done just right, employers will get more from their workers who are maintaining a good work/life balance. There are times, however, when an employer can assist in this work/life juggle by helping their workers with flexible work schedules, telecommuting, job sharing and alternative work schedules. Many employees have stated that a flexible work schedule is key for them keeping a particular job. By helping employees to balance their work and their life, there will be a loyalty reward.
9. Wholistic Programs
There are many wholistic programs that can add value to your employees' work/life without spending a lot of money. Some wholistic programs involve: diet, fitness and after-school homework programs . These programs can go a long way in retaining good employees and ensuring that their loyalty stays with you.
10. Information Sharing
When employees are kept abreast of what is going on in their company they usually feel a sense of ownership. It is not unusual to hear employees refer to a company as theirs especially if they are privy to key information that gives them a sense of being part of a larger team. Information shared may include major restructuring decisions, profits/losses and other company happenings. Think-tank meetings are an effective way to share information with employees and to get their feedback--and not only that, implement the feedback if it is feasible.
As a general rule, a happy employee will be a motivated and productive employee. The opposite is also true; a sad, burdened employee will not be as productive and will not be loyal. The best practice for a business is to retain and encourage the workforce so that its employees will be motivated to stay.
Buchanan, R. and Gilles, C. (1990) "Value managed relationship: The key to customer retention and profitability", European Management Journal, vol 8, no 4, 1990.
Reichheld, F. (1996) The Loyalty Effect, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 1996.
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