Employee loyalty is down. So what?

by on June 16, 2015 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Cafe
Group of confident business partners interacting at meeting

I was looking at a recent survey about employee loyalty — showing that it’s way down compared with five years ago — and my first thought was, “Wow. That’s not good.” But my second thought was, “On second thought, does it really matter?”

Let me explain. It used to be that employee loyalty did matter, back when there was such a thing as employer loyalty. When employers could and did promise employees long-term security and ample benefits, they had a right to expect that employees not only would work hard and smart, but also would stick around and repay the employer’s investment in them with their experience and know-how.

But now, most employers can’t hold up their end of the old bargain. Not only are there no more jobs for life, but the employee benefit equation requires more and more financial participation from employees. If companies can’t be loyal, in the traditional sense, to employees, why should they expect employees to be loyal to the company, or upset if they’re not?

Engagement is key
This isn’t as bleak as it sounds. Employees and employers still expect a lot from each other. It’s just that what they expect has changed.

You can legitimately expect that employees will be engaged, which covers the working hard and smart portion of loyalty. And you should do everything you can to bolster engagement.

Want more ideas to drive employee engagement? Check out this free video called, “Engagement and Leadership: How to Tap Every Employee’s Innate Drive to Make a Difference”

One big component of engaging employees nowadays is persuading them that you will help make them the best they can be, through learning, training and opportunity. You’re still investing in your people, but the payoff that you earn from the investment won’t be the same as theirs. You gain their best efforts, as long as they’re with you, while they gain knowledge and skills that will benefit them down the road no matter where their career takes them.

So just maybe you shouldn’t worry about whether your employees are loyal. Worry instead about whether they’re engaged. (According to the Gallup Organization, 70% of employees aren’t.)

Oh, by the way, that loyalty survey came from the American Management Association and showed that, as of December 2014, 52% of 1,200+ managers contacted considered their employees as less loyal than five years previous. Some 37% said their people were equally loyal, and 11% said they were more loyal.

Just in case you care…

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