06 Dec Does Loyalty Exist?
My grandfather retired from working at the same glass factory in Waco, Texas his entire career. He walked away with the gold watch and the pension. It was a different time when employees stayed loyal to one company.
Does loyalty exist today? Lincoln Riley sent shockwaves in the college sports world last week when he left the University of Oklahoma to take the same job as head football coach of the University of Southern California. Coaches have been leaving schools for better jobs for years, but this felt different. OU is one of the premier jobs in college sports. So is USC. It would be like the CEO of Coke leaving to be the CEO of Pepsi. CEOs leave jobs all the time, but usually not for companies in the same industry.
Before sports fans could process the news, Brian Kelly left Notre Dame to be the new head coach of LSU. At the time Notre Dame still had an outside chance of making the college playoffs. Again, two premier coaching jobs and one man leaving a top school for another top school.
But what we see in college sports is only a reflection of what we see in the workforce. Employees are loyal, until they get a better offer. How do you overcome this environment? Can you create loyalty in your staff?
Money and benefits are important, but studies show most people are more likely to stay at a current job if they feel like they have connections.
The short answer is no, you cannot manufacture loyalty. There are things you can do to build loyalty in your staff. It starts with building a relationship with your team. Money and benefits are important, but studies show most people are more likely to stay at a current job if they feel like they have connections.
If you have a relationship with your team, you are more likely to know or understand their needs and be able to address those concerns. This is more challenging when you are the CEO of a growing organization. I know that when I started building Centerpost Media I had a staff of two and we knew everything there was to know about each other. Now I confess we have grown to the point that there are some new hires I have yet to build a connection with, mainly because they work in other markets. But my leadership team, by extension, works to build a relationship with their staff. This is a cultural shift. As the leader you can create an organization that works to connect with each other.
It’s also important to manage expectations. Tension in any relationship is centered around unmet expectations. As the leader you need to clearly communicate where the company is today and where it is moving tomorrow. Be honest about the highs and lows. People want genuine leadership, not a pep rally.
Finally, encourage an open dialogue without consequences. It takes time, but this is where real trust is built. Allow room for your team to vent about their job or discuss things they are not pleased with in the organization. The key is to guide the conversation to being productive. Ask them for solutions to their concerns. It might be hurtful to hear, but you would rather know if your staff is not happy and have time to address their concerns, than the alternative of not finding out until it is too late.
If you can afford to pay them more, pay them more. Most small businesses are not in that place, but you should work hard to take care of the team that helps you build your company.
Sometimes better offers come your employees’ way and that’s okay. Learn to celebrate their success even when it means losing a team member. Your current staff is looking to you to see how you respond.
Scott Miller is the CEO of Centerpost Media, host of the Create. Build. Manage. Show (seen on BizTV, heard on BizTalkRadio, and available wherever you listen to podcasts,) and a member of the Forbes Agency Council, Entrepreneur Leadership Network, and Dallas Business Journal Leadership Trust. You can find Scott on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via “@scottmillerceo” or on LinkedIn via “@scottmillermedia.” Centerpost Media is a content marketing agency with a vision to help every business they encounter with their media needs by providing outstanding quality, service and value. Centerpost Media is the parent company to BizTV, BizTalkRadio, BizTalkPodcasts and Bizvod.