Leadership That Nurtures Loyalty
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Employee loyalty is often expressed as a common challenge for executives and leaders in today's climate where employee satisfaction and retention are a real concern. During a recent conversation on an online forum, it became very clear that the bonds of loyalty within organizations are strained and the topic is a common concern for employees alike. Let's consider some of the "2017/2018 Employment Engagement and Retention Statistics" as a point of reference for this topic:
60% of employees express being stressed all or most of the time at work.
60% of US Workers would require an additional $6,000 p/year to feel comfortable or satisfied with their job.
54% of professional career choices are motivated by seeking a healthy work/life balance.
46% of employees do not think their leadership skills are being developed.
47% of employees want to receive rewards spontaneously.
52% of employees would rather celebrate rewards with their families than with colleagues.
78% of workers say a workplace where people are treated equally – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, or religion – is important to them.
56% of female workers and 52% of male workers believe their employers could do more to promote gender equality and diversity.
33% of professionals selected “I’m bored, need new challenge” as their motivation for moving on to another job.
and the list can go on....
How do leaders in emerging and thriving businesses create and cultivate loyalty with employees in a way that promotes longevity and waters the roots of deeper commitment? What best practices can we glean from the statistics above regarding how to enhance employee engagement and nurture loyalty between the workplace and the workforce?
If we read between the lines clearly - LOYALTY - is a primary challenge with staffing retention and employee satisfaction. Online blogs offer many suggestions for how to cultivate a culture and environment that creates loyalty with employees; and, a study of the topic will help broaden the scope of understanding needed to nurture more loyal relationships in the workplace. Recently, while researching and studying for the creation of the new workshop series entitled "The Authentic Workplace™", I was able to outline four specific ways loyalty can be nurtured by purposeful and effective leadership. (This is the short-list version. Honestly, there are many more!) I thought I might share these primary four insights with my readers here:
1) Invest time in the hiring process. Introduce new candidates to other key players on your team and engage in an open discussion about the motivations that the candidate specifically feels would contribute toward their view of the topic of employee loyalty. Engaging in an open conversation will give the you specific insight into whether the culture of the organization is a match with the philosophies of the candidate. Taking your time to engage, listen and converse will also lay the foundation for trust to be nurtured as the relationship grows. Investing time is a way of showing you care. This generation is hungry for "mentors" not bosses! They want to learn, grow, develop and aspire to the heights of recognition and promotion. And, they do better being shown than told, coached than disciplined and empowered than demeaned. Approaching top talented candidates must include understanding and utilizing the laws of attraction, the art of listening and the influence of being a great mentor.
2) Help develop and grow employee's skills by making them more marketable. The concept employed here is somewhat a reverse psychology method where, if I know I can leave then its a demonstration of loyalty that I stay. The fact someone is staying on the team is an expression of loyalty often overlooked. Who has stayed and how are they being recognized? What opportunities for growth have been presented to those who are loyal to demonstrate the reward to those who are new? It is important to continuously provide opportunities for advanced certifications, education, skills development, leadership training and confidence building activities or projects. If a leader helps an employee increase their importance and influence in the organization through development and personal growth, the act of generosity will quite often be a boost to the bonds of loyalty. Positive psychology can go a long way with creating and nurturing loyalty and I highly recommend a study of the topic for every leader. (If you have are not familiar with the topic please go to "The Center of Positive Psychology" to learn more). Engagement is the opposite of stagnation and the key to motivating employees toward higher levels of excellence and performance. Avoiding stagnation is a central concept every human resource department and leadership team should actively consider. Stagnation becomes the dance floor where disinterest and disloyalty step to the theme of "footloose" (some of you will remember that song!). Investing in the development of an employee demonstrates a leader's willingness to be vulnerable and engage in an authentic and trustful relationship.
3) Always allow and create paths for promotion. No one wants to be stuck or hit the plateau within an organization. There is no worse feeling than to sense you have a ceiling that cannot be raised or penetrated. The plateau effect is certainly a contributor toward the beginning thoughts of disloyalty and a significant deterrent to motivation. Promote, coach, plan, equip, mentor, build and give employees their moments to shine. Remember leaders look best by building a platform for others to arise and thrive. Don't be insecure or be an insecure organization! Engage and facilitate moments of remembrance that employees will share with their friends and family for the rest of their lives.
4) Empower employees to have voice in the policies, plans and decisions of the organization. Cultivate autonomy, the art of gaining consensus and team collaboration. Everyone loves being a part of building and creating a plan. My philosophy is "no little dreams here"! Employees love doing big things that require big ideas and are accomplished with big effort; and, they are more likely to be loyal and take ownership because they were included in every step along the way. How does your organization give credit and recognition to those who are responsible for the achievements and success stories that are placed in the history blogs of websites or on the walls of fame in the halls of the office building? Empowerment is a profound force that will unleash the flames of passion, pursuit and performance. The goal of every leader should be to become a voice for empowerment, equality, justice, wisdom, humanity and vision.
Take time this week to ask yourself, how am I nurturing loyalty? Shift the paradigm from how do I find top talent because people won't stay, to how do I grow and nurture those who are here to want to stay for a lifetime! It's a paradigm shift in how leaders view employees and how those in charge take ownership of the organizations they lead. Treat your employees well enough, empower them to be good enough and celebrate them with recognition enough that no recruiter could poach or penetrate the bonds of loyalty within your workforce!
(C) Copyright 2018 - The Osborn Group, LLC - All rights reserved. Sharing is permitted and appreciated.
About the Author - Timothy G. Osborn is the Senior Consultant/Founder at The Osborn Group, LLC where "we build top talented teams to enhance and create next level solutions for operations, leadership development, content marketing, engagement, talent acquisition, startups and business growth!"
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