Cultivating a loyal workforce

It can be a hard thing for employers to accept that just because you’ve given someone a job, it doesn’t make them a loyal employee.

Employee loyalty takes time to cultivate and requires effort and nurturing from management teams. Businesses who successfully cultivate a loyal workforce reap the rewards in the long term through high productivity levels, reduced attrition rates and the costs attached to this as well as free, positive brand marketing from the people at the heart of their business.

So how do businesses create a culture of loyal employee?
  • Align your workforce to your core values – Every successful business has a set of core values which underpin everything they do. These could include things like fairness, balance, integrity and team work to name a few. These values have no meaning or purpose if your workforce doesn’t believe in them. They need to be embodied by everyone involved with the business and therefore, your recruitment process should be based on determining whether the candidate aligns themselves with these factors. If you hire on the basis that everyone believes in your values and vision, your teams will be working collectively towards the wider goal. This approach should ultimately lead to business success.
  • Celebrate success – If your employees are performing well it is so important to recognise this. Many businesses have schemes such as “employee of the month” which recognise larger achievements, but it is often better to have a more flexible approach to recognition, enabling opportunities to celebrate smaller but equally important achievements. Whatever works best in your business, the most important element is that this recognition is genuine and sincere.
  • Tailor your reward schemes – Employees at different stages in their lives will want different recognition and rewards. For example; it has been suggested that millennials are driven by flexible working, whereas parents may want child care support and others may be motivated simply by money. Whatever the divide in your company, it is always worth asking them directly what it is that they would benefit from when you are putting together a rewards programme. This will benefit businesses in two ways, firstly by involving your employees you are already showing them you value their input. Secondly, it ensures the business doesn’t waste money by giving rewards that no one really wants.
  • Listen to your employees – As well as championing success within your business it is also important to listen to your employees on a daily basis and engage them with as much as you can. Ask for their input on decisions, keep them informed and encourage suggestions for change. It can sometimes be helpful to have a small team of employees who are responsible for feeding back the opinion of the wider workforce to management and act as an open communication channel from the frontline. By encouraging and supporting your employees to have an input on more than just their day job you are showing that you value their opinion and want them to help shape the business and its culture.
  • Mutual respect – it is important that there is a strong element of respect between employees and managers. Typically respect and loyalty go hand in hand. Create this relationship by allowing them the autonomy to do their job without being micromanaged. This shows you have confidence and trust in them to achieve and put simply, if your hiring process is effective, they should be competent to do just this. In addition, it is important to set them goals, provide regular, constructive feedback and ensure they have the skills and resources to do their job to their best ability. By becoming an enabler, you are giving them confidence to flourish in their role and deliver your business the best results.

Employee loyalty will not happen overnight and encompasses all aspects of a business, from recruitment, culture, engagement and management styles. Managers need to be honest with themselves when considering how loyal their workforce is in order to make a positive change but by making small changes, it can make a big difference to the identity and performance of a business.

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