LEADERS: Stop Obsessing Over Loyalty, focus on Team Envy and Cohesion Instead

Each year organizations lose billions of dollars due to employee turnover. Quite surprisingly, most of it is actually voluntary, and one starts to wonder, what has happened to employee loyalty. In a workforce survey conducted recently, more than 91% of the respondents agreed that they can’t stay with their current organization for more than three years.

The definition of employee loyalty has changed in recent years. More and more employees now define loyalty as it relates to the job at hand. The workplace has become transactional for the employee. Once hired to perform specific tasks, they give their very best. And after mastering it they seek out new roles and opportunities in order to earn more and/or have more responsibility. Whether this opportunity comes from within their current organization or they have to make a move, they have loyally fulfilled their obligation. Employees generally expect to get much more than just money from their jobs and are more willing than ever to walk out on an organization if they feel unfulfilled and undervalued. Employee loyalty does not supply the desired statistics for measuring organizational dynamics any longer. Don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe that employee loyalty is an excellent trait that we can all strive for. However, in my opinion, loyalty is earned and can not demanded simply because someone works for you and because you pay them. You pay them to do a job, they do that job, you are not paying for their loyalty.

The truth is, I’m not sure loyalty really exists anymore. With organizations laying off hundreds nay thousands of people in a few brief moments, it’s difficult to ask for something you can’t give yourself. Very few people have trust in these larger organizations anymore. So the question is, should be should we get loyalty back in organizations?

Employee loyalty is a give and take on both sides, it lies at the crossroads of the organizations investment in the employee and the employee’s investment in the organization. Loyalty is first and foremost a mutual relationship. If larger organizations cannot show loyalty by finding ways to retain employees during economic downturn, then expecting loyalty from your employee base is a thing of the past.

Employees will continue to perform at their absolute best as long as they feel that the organization wants the best for them! Thus employee loyalty is a function of processes and strategies put in place by the organization and how such strategies are communicated to the employees. An organization that provides career and development options, clarity of direction, vision and work and life balance will go a lot further to entice and retain top talent.

So as a leader in an organization, business owner, or an entrepreneur it makes sense not to fuss over employee loyalty, which after all, is a consequence of a set of actions.  Instead, focus on steps that will lead you to that outcome. How then can you engender employee loyalty? Focus on building a cohesive team.

Build the Organizations Culture

To attract and retain top talent, it’s important for organizations to have a strong culture. A strong organizational culture ultimately results in higher performance translating to higher revenues. Honest communication, mutual trust and recognition of achievement are all key components of dynamic teamwork and cohesion. In fact, you should create an atmosphere where you and your team can work happily ever after. Having a unified team translates into improved performance. When implemented correctly team cohesion can improve loyalty, morale, motivation and these are key indicators for performance.

Building a cohesive team is not just about getting your team members to meet up a couple of times a week, of course, that’s not to say it’s a terrible idea. You want to create cohesion around common accomplishments, successes, goals, and pride to be a part of your team. Individuals want to be proud of their organization and feel a sense of deep fulfillment and achievement.  Organizational culture guides employees when the leader is not around. It’s what you do when no one is looking. People are drawn to organizations where they believe they can contribute significantly to the development of the organization while simultaneously having opportunities to grow and learn alongside the growth of the company. The more organizations invest in people, the stronger the culture and the more employees will feel engaged. Share the organization missions and values with your employees, there’s a good chance they’ll key into that and mission. Also, help them understand how they play into the mission, vision and values. I can’t tell you how many organizations I have worked for that I not only didn’t feel connected the organizations mission and vision, but also that I didn’t understand them… at all! Help your employees understand how they can achieve their personal and professional goals by working with you. Which means, you also need to understand what their personal and professional goals are.  Let your employees know they can suggest ideas and tools for improving processes and practices. Even if the suggestions are not adopted, your employees will appreciate being listened to and you will create envy amongst other teams in the organization. People will want to work with you and your team for longer periods of time.

Creating an organizational culture that promotes team cohesion takes time, smart policies, and consistent devotion to the goal by management. As a leader, you need to show a genuine desire and good faith to see any changes. Although it takes time, with consistent effort you will realize your desired goal which isn’t about having loyalty, but rather about creating team cohesion and team envy.

Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching and the Healthy Transformations Weight Loss & Inflammation Reduction Program.  Change my Life Coaching is a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.

 

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