As a manager, one of your most important duties is to nurture employee loyalty. Loyal employees empathize with the company as a whole and regard the priorities of the business as their own. Furthermore, the more loyal your workers are, the more productive, efficient, and stable the work environment is for everyone. This, in turn, leads to better results, increased satisfaction, and healthier employee relations.
That said, building employee loyalty can be a slightly complicated affair. To do it well, you have to take the time to understand what your employees need and then provide it for them. Here are seven ways you can do just that:
Maintain Frequent and Honest Communication
Did you know that 53 percent of workers consider communication between employees and senior management to be very important? Keeping the lines of communication open between you and your employees helps to minimize misunderstandings while increasing feelings of trust and inclusion — both of which are vital to employee engagement.
Lack of communication, on the other hand, is absolutely ruinous to productivity, working relationships, and employee morale. Without clear communication, employees don’t know what’s expected of them, how to respond to changes within the company, and what policies and procedures they should be following. Basically, insufficient communication will flat out kill employee commitment and loyalty.
Ask your employees for their input on important decisions and take time to really listen to what they have to say. By regularly asking for their feedback, you’ll ensure your employees feel valued and heard.
Give Your Employees Individual Attention
Loyalty is often dependent on whether or not an employee receives individual attention from their manager. By regularly scheduling one-on-ones with your employees, you let your team know that you care about their personal and professional growth. This not only illustrates their importance to you, it also has a significant impact on morale, commitment, and trust in you as a leader.
It may be tempting to try to supervise everything your staff is doing, but in reality, it’s a surefire way to chase employees right out the door. If you want to earn your employees’ loyalty, you have to show them that you actually trust them to do their job. If you’re always hovering over their shoulder or constantly checking their work, you’ll only stifle their creativity and growth. Rather than micromanaging, you should set attainable goals, ensure your employees have the training and resources they need to get the job done, and give constructive feedback when necessary.
Create a Flexible Work Schedule
Whether you decide to shorten your work week, offer adjustable daily hours, or give your employees the option to telecommute, creating a flexible work environment is incredibly important. Flex work is on the rise, and employees everywhere are turning to companies who offer it. In fact, experts believe that remote work will approach or even reach 50 percent by 2020.
Workplace flexibility comes with a whole host of benefits. For employees, flexibility means better work-life balance, less risk of burnout due to overload, and the ability to work smarter. For employers, flexibility leads to a reduction in absenteeism and turnover, and an increase in employee loyalty. Employees are happier, healthier, and more committed to the company.
Take a moment to recall the last time you told an employee that you appreciate their hard work. If it wasn’t within the last week, you have some catching up to do. Your employees are your company’s biggest asset, and they need to be treated as such. The more they feel appreciated, the more likely they are to stick it out for the long haul.
Employees absolutely crave positive feedback. They’re also far more productive when they receive it on a regular basis. Make sure you sincerely thank your employees for their contributions and reward them often. Even if you think they’re aware that their work is valued, make sure you actually say something. A few kind words can go a long way.
Get Rid of Toxic Employees
Toxic employees can destroy the social fabric of a company by causing tension, drama, and hostility among the workforce. Good employees find it incredibly difficult (or downright impossible) to feel loyal to a company that puts up with individuals who make the workplace miserable for everyone else. If employee loyalty is your goal, then it’s absolutely vital you fire anyone who is routinely unpleasant or abusive and is unwilling to change their behavior.
Be Kind, Compassionate, and Respectful
There are two ways to manage employees: through fear and intimidation, or through encouragement and compassion. Guess which one actually works?
A study commissioned by the Association of Accounting Technicians found that employee loyalty is impacted more by feelings of warmth and positive relationships than a large salary. Furthermore, neuroimaging has shown that our brains respond more positively to supervisors who show us empathy than to those who treat us harshly.
Conversely, responding to employees with anger or frustration inhibits creativity by increasing stress levels. If you create a work environment founded on fear, anxiety, and lack of trust, employees will shut down and loyalty will suffer.
When dealing with your employees, be kind, compassionate, and respectful. Always keep the golden rule in mind and you’ll be rewarded with loyalty and hard work in spades.
Loyal employees aren’t just more enjoyable to work with, they’re the backbone of every successful company. They’re the ones that truly appreciate their jobs, work hard to solve problems as they arise, and stay motivated even in the face of uncertainty. But loyalty isn’t just something that happens; it’s something that has to be cultivated and nurtured with time and effort. As a manager, you need to do your part to encourage and inspire loyalty in your employees — they’re counting on you to do right by both them and your company.