A company is as strong as its weakest employee, but building workplace loyalty to motivate good employees to stick around has sadly become a lost art. While every manager worth their salt will agree that high turnover rates are insanely costly and may eventually lead to a company’s downfall, very few employers know how to build enough employee loyalty to keep the good guys from fleeing in droves when things go south. And when it comes to company loyalty, a pay raise is sometimes not enough.
Treat Them Like Human Beings
Company employees should not feel like they are just cogs in the machine. Treat them like family but be firm when you need them to pay attention. Try mixing soft leadership and tough management skills whenever possible. Treat your employees well and reward their good behavior. Also, provide constant feedback to their work.
When asked why they would leave their current position, 50% of respondents cited a lack of appreciation while 35% cited unclear goals. However, giving your employees feedback doesn’t mean constantly patting them on their back. Fifty-seven percent of employees said they prefer corrective feedback over empty praise. After all, it is human nature to constantly strive toward bettering oneself.
Also, when checking in with an employee, try to do it in person. A skype call or instant messaging service may be more convenient for you, but it doesn’t make your employees feel appreciated as an in-person sit-down meeting would. What’s more, constantly reassure the good employees both verbally and non-verbally that the company sees them as long-term investments, instead of an expendable resource.
Be Loyal to Your Employees
Loyalty begets loyalty, but many managers and employers seem to forget this simple truth. If you want loyal employees, the company needs to express loyalty first. There are a handful of things you can do to express your loyalty as a manager.
First, don’t rush downsizing. If under current business conditions, you can no longer afford to keep the entire team on board, lay off your employees with respect. Don’t let them feel a split second as being expendable or at fault for the company’s crisis (if it’s not their fault). Explain the current situation to them and why you had to take the decision.
Don’t go into too many details but assure them that they have been an incredible asset for the company and that, if things get better, they would be always welcomed back. Don’t burn bridges with your good employees.
Second, allow your employees to come up with recommendations for job openings. They might know a friend or relative that is perfect for the position. So, hire outsiders only when you have no other options left within the team. Also, promote people to new roles within the company and strive to never overlook a valuable employee for a job promotion. But this means that senior managers who make these decisions should know their team well; and if they don’t, they should make the promotion opportunities known to their teams first, and only hire outsiders for the new roles as the last resort.
For Better or For Worse
When life throws one of your employees a curveball, such as illness, death of a loved one, or addiction issues, and they are no longer at peak performance, don’t give them the cold shoulder. Show them that you stand by them by being flexible and offering them real support.
You can trim their workflow, offer them flexible hours, or opportunities to work from home if needed. You could also contribute to funeral expenses or medical costs within budget if the employee is struggling financially. Also, make sure that the troubled employee still feels appreciated despite current conditions.
Ensure Your Employees Feel Safe
Never skimp on the safety of your employees. They need to feel appreciated and the best way to do this is to show consideration toward their health and safety. Also, since you have a legal duty to protect your employees, workplace safety should be one of your top priorities, unless you want to risk paying compensation.
But physical safety is not everything. Go the extra mile and ensure that your workers are psychologically safe as well. Minimize bullying, gossiping, and other toxic behaviors in the workplace.
Don’t Overlook the Little Guys
Executive-level managers can easily lose contact with base-level employees, which might cause this group to feel not appreciated or alienated from the company they’re working for and decide to leave. Don’t overlook these workers as you never know what hidden gems lie within this group.
To Sum Up
Show loyalty and appreciation to your employees and you’ll get loyalty and peak performance in return. Be slow to hire and quick to fire, but only with outsiders. Treat your workers like family, and they will become an incredible investment in the long term. Never forget that employees are the ones that, at the end of the day, make or break the business.