Regardless of whether you run a small business with a handful of employees or a corporation that employs thousands, one of your greatest assets will be the loyalty and devotion of your employees. However, this loyalty is not something that will endure unless there are some specific efforts made to keep it alive and thriving. Here are a few ideas on how you can inspire and grow employee loyalty in your company:
- Extend respect to each and every person who is part of your organization. Everyone likes to be in an environment where he feels as if he is valued for who he is and what he brings to the table. Such little things as remembering people's names or taking a moment to listen when an employee needs five minutes of your time goes a long way. Acknowledging their presence with a smile and nod as you walk through a department is another simple yet eloquent gesture that says, "I know you are here and I appreciate your presence." Take the time to develop good relations between you and those who work for you.
- Communication is also important in any good working relationship. You can deflate the most enthusiastic employee by conveying the message that he is not worthy of knowing what is happening with the company. This does not mean you have to share sensitive data with everyone. However, by taking the time to let everyone know how sales are going, how many units were shipped last month, the good news that a new customer will be coming on board and just in general how the business is doing will make all the difference in the world. Some companies use a quick 15- to 20-minute meeting or conference call on Friday afternoons. Others like to pull employees together in face-to-face groups once a month, allowing employees to ask upper management questions. The methods may vary, but the point is that communicating with your employees help them to feel like a full part of the team, and thus loyal to you and their coworkers.
- Acknowledging employee loyalty helps to foster continued dedication to the company. Make a big deal when someone has been with the company for 10 years. Let everyone know about the employee who salvaged a client relationship last week. Never forget to say "thank you" and "I appreciate what you bring to this company" and be specific about the event or skill you are talking about. It is relatively easy to say "I appreciate you" but it sends a much stronger message when you can cite the exact reason for your appreciation. Showing your appreciation for people increases employee morale.
- When circumstances allow, reward people for a job well done. Giving rewards shows you recognize the hard work your employees are doing. Sometimes this may be in the form of a bonus in the payroll envelope. At other times, throwing a company-wide picnic might be the ticket. Even something as simple as having pizza brought in for everyone when the day is unusually busy sends a clear signal that you appreciate the hard work.
- Never forget that an increase in benefits can also help to inspire loyalty. As companies grow, there is often the chance to improve benefits such as hospitalization, dental and visual coverage, more vacation time or sick leave and life insurance coverage. As the company reaches a new level of financial stability, reward your workers with increased benefits. This sends a clear message that you know they play a large role in the success of the company, and you want them to have a better standard of living.
Employee loyalty is all about letting people know they are valued and appreciated. This may come from words, from increases in pay and from other incentives and perks as well. Find the most appropriate ways to extend that appreciation and acknowledgment of worth within your corporate culture and you will have a happy staff that will stick by you through thick and thin.