“If put to the pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.” – Elbert Hubbard
Loyalty involves faithfulness to commitments or obligations. It requires steadfast allegiance to a sovereign, government, organisation, leader, cause, person or other.
Loyalty at work is a two-way street. Both employees and employers need to give and receive loyalty.
Loyalty has nothing to do with length of employment. The employee who's been with the organization for six months, who embraces company goals, and works her butt off every day to accomplish stated goals, is loyal. But the 23-year veteran employee who does just enough to get by, criticizes his supervisor and employer at work and in public, and undermines company decisions is not loyal.
Loyal employees work hard for their pay and are committed to their company's success. Although they may leave someday, they do their best and often even put the company's interests ahead of their own.
Qualities of loyal employees
- They view superiors as human beings, not just bosses. They know their supervisors want to help them reach desired professional and personal goals.
- They communicate honestly and openly with superiors. They'll tell superiors what is working and not working because it would benefit the employee, the supervisor and the organization as a whole.
- They share their opinions freely and openly. They enjoy debating, weighing pros and cons of issues, and playing devil's advocate. They believe everybody benefits from an honest exchange of differing opinions.
- They don't criticize their supervisors in front of others. They disagree with superiors on private. They don't gossip, snipe, or talk behind their supervisors' back. They treat superiors like they want to be treated.
- They support their superiors and their decisions. When they disagree with a decision, loyal employees don't try to prove superiors wrong. They do everything they can to make things work.
- They tell the superiors when they need to leave. Sometimes, loyal employees need to move on for better opportunities, different lifestyles, new fields, self employment, education and training, or time out. But they also know their departure will create a vacancy so they to give employers ample time to prepare for their replacement.
Ways loyal employers can express recognition and thanks to employees
- Say thank you. Social niceties do belong at work. Show employees appreciation for their work and contributions, and say please, often, as well.
- Praise something the employee has done well. Identify the specific actions you found admirable. This praise feels sincere because you took time to spell out details. You could also review the activities you'd like to see the employee do more often.
- Know employees personal and work backgrounds. Learn about their family, hobbies, special social or other activities in which they're involved. Genuine interest enables people to feel valued, cared about. Demonstrate this interest regularly by asking questions such as, "How did Sally's tournament turn out last weekend?"
- Offer employees flexible scheduling for holidays or special events, if feasible. If work coverage is critical, post a calendar so people can balance time off with that of their coworkers. Realize most employees like a flexible schedule most of the time.
- Give personalized small gifts or greeting cards occasionally. Present a card to celebrate a birthday, to offer sympathy, when an employee is ill or experiencing a family tragedy, or for no reason at all.
- Provide end of year bonuses, attendance bonuses, quarterly bonuses and small gift certificates that say "thank you." Most people appreciate food. Order pizza for lunch or take employees out for a birthday lunch or special occasion.
- Create a fun tradition for a seasonal holiday. Have employees draw names for their secret Santa gift exchange. Consider a treat day every month. It's a great mixer, morale builder, and provides opportunities for everybody to show off culinary skills.
- Treat employees. Bring in bagels, doughnuts or other treats for everybody. Offerings such as chocolate, cookies or cupcakes, particularly anything that you've baked personally, are a hit.
- Offer varied educational and training opportunities. Many employees enjoy participating on special committees where their talents are recognized. They also like attending professional association meetings, and representing the organization at civic and philanthropic events.
- Enhance creativity. There are hundreds of employee and employer appreciations ideas. They'll bring the company success as well as motivate and recognize loyal employees, building a positive, productive workplace.
Use every opportunity to demonstrate the company's loyalty, gratitude and appreciation to employees. No special occasions are necessary. Employee appreciation is never out-of-date!
Additional tips to help employers and employees develop loyalty to adapt and succeed in changing times are found in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life.