It’s unusual nowadays for workers to spend their entire career at the same company, and sometimes the relationship between employer and employee seems to be one of pure expediency: businesses’ attention to the bottom line can mean quick layoffs when the economy slows, and employees’ search for a better offer can lead to frequent job changes.
CEOs, though, know that high turnover is costly. So what can you do to create a more loyal workforce and help keep your best employees committed and engaged? Here are 3 tips for fostering a culture of company-wide loyalty.
1. Be a member of the team. As CEO, you shouldn’t necessarily be best friends with your employees, but your employees do need to know that you’re just as much a part of the team as they are. This means you should never ask anyone to do anything that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. Humility will win more loyalty than self-importance, so be ready to pitch in and help wherever needed. Making your own coffee is not beneath you. And beyond your own behavior, do everything you can to encourage teamwork and warm, open relationships among co-workers. According to a 2014 Globoforce report, 78% of employees who work 30 to 50 hours a week spend more time with their co-workers than with their families, and 89% say that work relationships are important to their overall quality of life. People often leave or stay based on these relationships.
2. Promote learning and model readiness to learn. Recent research by Gallup indicates that employees who are given the opportunity to continually learn and grow are twice as likely to say they will spend their career with their company. Formal professional development opportunities are important, but so is a culture of everyday learning. Encourage people to learn from those around them. As CEO, you can model this behavior: you need to be knowledgeable across a broad spectrum of disciplines, but you won’t have deep expertise in every area, which is why you surround yourself with good people. Show that you value learning by keeping your eyes and ears open and taking advantage of opportunities to educate yourself, whether it’s by discussing safety issues with a production worker or talking about employment law with human resources. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know everything.
3. Challenge people to seek rewards together. Explain what your team is trying to achieve together and how the goal fits in with the company’s overall mission and vision, and then make sure everyone shares in the rewards of success. Encourage mutual respect and emphasize that every job is important—the janitor is no less vital than the sales manager. Making people feel appreciated and publicly acknowledging the value of their work and their accomplishments creates an emotional connection to the company that increases motivation, engagement and loyalty.
With these simple tips, you should be able to keep your most valuable employees and improve loyalty and retention overall.