Employees don’t leave organizations; they leave managers.
I want to talk about the foundations of loyalty… But first I want to say that inspiring loyalty takes more than being nice to employees… It takes more than paying premium salaries to employees… It takes more than providing excellent benefits and bonuses and special parking and paid holidays and doughnuts… These are good things… Everyone appreciates them, but they don’t lead to loyalty, they lead to the statement, “What have you done for me lately?”
It’s not just a blue collar issue. We’ve seen it in many professional businesses and firms from CPA firms to tech firms that pay a higher wage. Almost everyone has run across an issue in which, no matter how well they treat their employees, complaining and whining is a problem.
When I ask business owners with this issues what’s going on, they basically indicate they are treating their employees well. They’re confused and frustrated because they are actually trying to be good employers, but often their efforts are ineffective and end up being an expensive effort.
It’s even more confusing to clients who grew up with the tradition of loyalty to employer. We’re in a time when fewer employees have worked for an organization in which they could become loyal employees. They don’t expect it, and really don’t hold much hope that it will happen. So, they get as much as they can get and work for the organization until something better comes by, and then they jump to the next fleeting dream…
I want to offer you two foundations by which you can begin to build loyalty within your organizations. These foundations are:
Let’s begin with Lifestyle…
Lifestyle consists of character, connection and competency. These three build trust in the workplace, and, without trust, there can be no loyalty. Without trust, employees are hesitant to perform to their fullest potential; they’re distant, uninvolved in their company, and fearful that even the smallest mistake will result in termination.
C H A R A C T E R
Character involves the core values of the organization and the owners and top executives of the firm.
These are just some of the character traits that produce loyalty in the workplace. Such behaviors bring about respect!
C O N N E C T I O N
John Maxell says you must get the employee’s heart before you get his/her hands.
Connection involves reaching into the employee’s heart and finding their passions, talents, core values and motivations.
Some years ago, the Gallup people did a survey of many organizations. They surveyed big organizations, small organizations, professional organizations, manufacturing organizations (all kinds of organizations, actually), and guess what they found?
They found a group of employees – about 25% of the employees — who were just terrific employees. They were model employees, loyal employees who used their talents to the fullest.
They found another group of employees (also about 25%) who were terrible employees. These were the type you would want to send to your competitor to help destroy his/her business. (You know what we’re talking about, the proverbial “employee from hell”.)
The third final group comprised the remaining 50%. They were okay employees, but not great. They complied but that was about it for their performance. At some point, you might expect them to “job-hop”, looking for a better deal.
Here is something interesting about this final group of employees. They had the same level of talent as the top 25% (very little difference, actually). They performed the way they did because they were not connected to the organization. It was just a place to work, just a patient, just a lab test, just a phone call , just a report…
Golden Keys to Connection
If you want to connect better, ask two questions:
- What have you been thinking about lately?
- What kind of things have to take place professionally during the next year for you to feel great about yourself and about this organization?
C O M P E T E N C Y
No one worth his/her salt will be loyal to an incompetent manager. Incompetency drives off the best employees and leaves you with the bottom 25%. Top professionals will never be loyal to incompetent people.
Second Foundation – Purpose
- Without vision the people perish…
- Without a dream there is nothing to be loyal to…
- Without direction and focus there is nothing to get excited and committed too…
- Without purpose you have “Just Employees” rather than “Owners of the Dream Employees.”
- Just employees comply; they perform up to the compliance level but not beyond…
Employees who have ownership of the dream go the extra mile; they take extra care of clients and customers, even the most difficult ones. They align with you and your dream and are loyal to the significance it achieves for all concerned.
Employees become Dream Shapers through connection with you and your organization.
If you can’t clearly formulate your dream, purpose or vision; or if you’re having difficulty with the trust/respect aspect, maybe it’s time to talk.