Loyalty can be the glue that holds a business together. It’s what makes employees come to work in the morning and it’s what keeps clients or customers with one company instead of the competition. Organisations typically put a lot of effort into rewarding customer loyalty and employers also expect loyalty from employees after investing in them, but loyalty is a two-way street. While companies are quick to demand it from their staff, they’re not always great at giving it back, which can be their downfall.
Employees dedicate a significant proportion of their life to their job. Virtually on call 24/7 thanks to remote access to emails and work systems, many people relocate their families for their jobs or rarely use the annual leave they are entitled to. Some may admit that there is an element of fear in these acts, but most would say it’s because they are loyal. So, surely it’s only right that employees should feel secure and supported by their employers in return?
Ex-Travelex CEO, Anthony Wagerman was a big advocate of employer loyalty – he states that it is one of the most important leadership lessons he learned from his late father.
“For the majority of my working life I have dealt with the challenges of recruitment, retention and attrition on a large scale and on a daily basis. I look back in amazement at Dad’s surgery and wonder what his secret was for keeping good people.”
The answer he realised was his father’s loyalty to his staff.
“His secret was actually all the basic stuff that everyone talks about but in reality rarely get right. He always treated his staff with respect. And he stuck by them in their tough times; divorce, partner problems, childcare challenges - you name it, he dealt with it and did all he could to help.”
His father ran a small dental practice, but his advice led to his son becoming CEO of a £700m company. Can being loyal to your employees really have that much of an impact on your business? Here are three areas we believe it makes a difference:
It is the employees who deliver the products or services an organisation offers, therefore they carry its reputation on their shoulders too. A disengaged workforce leads to poor performance and worse customer service, and ultimately a negative brand image or reputation, so it pays to look after them. As Richard Branson says:
“Your employees are your company’s real competitive advantage. They’re the ones making the magic happen – so long as their needs are being met.”
Satisfied employees are more productive and efficient. They work harder, contribute more and take fewer sick days. A number of studies have looked into employee productivity and the results sell the benefits of loyalty:
- Productivity can improve by up to 25% in organisations with connected employees
- Employees who are engaged are 27% more likely to report ‘excellent’ performance
- 57% of employees who are very stressed at work feel less productive and engaged – only 10% of low-stress employees reported feeling the same way
- Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%
- Customer retention rates are on average, 18% higher when employees are highly engaged
- Disengaged workers are on average, 37% more likely to be absent from work, 49% more likely to have an accident and 60% more likely to make mistakes
Another huge benefit of employer loyalty is retention. When staff feel appreciated they:
- Are increasingly loyal in return and stay with a business longer
- Speak positively about their workplace, which helps attract new talent
Both of these are invaluable in any growth plans and could save a company a considerable amount of money.
Does your employer show loyalty its employees? Or are you an employer who believes in the above? We’d love to hear from your thoughts.