Paladin and Associates clients share how they grow employee loyalty by:
A) Aligning career growth with company goals.
B) Designing work with variety and autonomy.
C) Focusing on relationships.
D) Highlighting the link between employees’ values and the company’s mission.
E) Hire quality personnel.
The best kind of loyalty comes when both parties are benefiting. We recommend assessment tools and career coaching to identify employees’ strengths and decide how to best leverage those talents for the company’s good. The company should also encourage employees to initiate conversations about how their strengths and talents might be best used in the organization. When our employees are using their strengths,” one of our clients says, “they find their work more satisfying and feel that they’re supporting their own career paths. Everyone benefits; it’s the best way to do business.” At this company, employees are encouraged to initiate meetings with their supervisors and their bosses’ boss, to discuss career-path possibilities at the company.
At this company, one accountant recently benefited from this process. When the accountant expressed interest in a management position, her supervisor reminded her that her assessment indicated strengths in areas other than management. The accountant then acknowledged that her interest in management stemmed primarily from an earnings potential concern. “She saw no other way to earn more,” says our client. Based on her interest and commitment to furthering her career, as well as on her educational background and strengths—including attention to detail, adherence to rules, and persistence—the company offered her the position of revenue analyst. In this role, she provided more value to the organization and took on new challenges. She also increased her earning potential because the new position rated higher than her former position in the company’s compensation system. The employee loyalty grew and the company benefited.
A commitment to variety and freedom takes some organizational and personal discipline—at the very least, firms must let employees know they can exercise choice. “When new account opportunities come along, we describe them at our Monday-morning staff meeting. We ask, ‘Who has the interest and time to tackle this?’” says another of our clients. In his earlier years at the firm, our client seized opportunities to master new skills such as creating television ads and public-service announcements by joining teams formed to serve accounts not assigned to him. Work on these new accounts earned him the “right” to take on the accounts after early success. His loyalty increased and the company benefited.
Fostering supportive relationships among employees can further enhance employee loyalty to your organization. “Enable people to work through conflicts constructively,” says another client. “Many managers find this concept counterintuitive. But positive conflict resolution gives people the sense that ‘We’re in this together; we’re a team.’”
To leverage this principle, our client advises managers to model effective conflict resolution as well as educate their teams about this powerful skill. “Read books on various conflict-resolution techniques,” he suggests, “and regularly practice at least one technique that fits your style. As your comfort with conflict resolution grows, at least some of your direct reports will begin emulating you.” Building loyalty through supportive relationships helps both the employee and the company.
At one of our Bio-Pharma clients, the most important meeting every year isn’t the holiday party and annual bonus distribution. It’s the holiday program featuring the stories of patients who have benefited from the company’s products. “Our people end up feeling personally involved in our company’s mission to restore people to full life,” says our client. “They can see the end result of their work. Many of them are profoundly moved by the patients’ stories.”
By putting a human face on its mission, this company has achieved employee-retention rates above the industry average. And it gets a whopping 95 percent favorable response rate to the employee-survey item “I have a clear understanding of the company’s mission” and a 93 percent favorable response to “The work I do supports the company mission.” Admittedly, a company’s mission is especially compelling when patients’ lives are at stake. But organizations in any industry can find ways to help employees see how their daily work affects customers. When our clients do, employee loyalty grows and the company benefits.
One of our clients said, “I have never had a manager that cared about me, gave me good feedback in an employee performance appraisal or helped me build my skills to do my job. Now I realize that I was not taking responsibility for my personal success. I’ve come to realize that supervisors care about their employees when the employees complete the company mission the manager owns. I now know that it’s my responsibility to build my skills and that my success comes from having the right tools to do the job.” We don’t see much loyalty building in this client’s early experiences. Neither the employer nor the employee took responsibility for career or mission. Relationship and influence were non-existent. In this case both the employer and employee would have to change in order to have a loyalty building culture. Hiring the right employees will go a long way toward building a loyalty building culture.
Author: Rich Kramarik