“Employee loyalty begins with employer loyalty. Your employees should know that if they do the job they were hired to do with a reasonable amount of competence and efficiency, you will support them,” Harvey Mackay.
#10 Experiences at work: Length of service
In this series we suggest ways to ‘shift people’s experience of work’. #9 looked at how experiences are a truly personalised illustration of your gratitude; inspiring culture and folklore within and about your business. In this tenth and final post we look at using experiences to recognise loyalty in the workplace.
PICTURED: BRG Co-Founder Naomi Simson (left) and COO Jemma Fastnedge (right). Jemma has been with the group in various roles across RedBalloon, Redii and BRG for 15 years.
It’s estimated that half of all Australian employees are looking for a new job at any given time. So if they’re always looking for something else to do, how engaged can they possibly be with your business? If we’re trying to grow our enterprises, how can we do that with disengaged people? Saying thanks and recognising your people is a great way to keep them engaged and focused.
You may have seen the recent ALDI commercial; a tongue-in-cheek stab at supermarket loyalty programs. The basic premise on the ad is that loyalty programs aren’t worth the little plastic cards they’re written on, and people should instead opt to shop at a supermarket that instead offers consistent low prices. Loyalty in the workplace is much the same – be it loyalty from your employees, customers, clients or suppliers. It shouldn’t be something celebrated once in a blue moon when you’ve accumulated enough ‘points’ (or time behind the desk) to justify a crummy bottle of wine. It’s something that should be acknowledged ongoing.
Acknowledging contribution, length of service and performance are the hallmarks of a great employer. An employer worthy of loyalty. And while loyalty can seem a rare quality in these days of constant job changes and shopping around (we’re looking at you Millennials), that makes it even more important to acknowledge those who have stood by you consistently. If you have people who have stuck by you and your business, celebrating their milestones is a sure fire way to keep them engaged, happy and settled, and to maintain that loyalty. And experiences are an incredibly powerful way to do this – they have a unique, money-can’t-buy quality and they give you the opportunity to be truly personalised in your acknowledgement.
Nothing about business seems to be getting easier – the competition is greater, costs are going up, building and inspiring a team is an ongoing requirement. Having the ‘right team’ in place is critical to growth and profitability, yet the competition for those people (and their discretionary effort) has never been greater. Every employee, every client, every supplier, every customer, has a choice. They can go elsewhere at any time.
The only possible way to protect one’s market position is through relentlessly great customer experience. Yet it is employees who create that customer experience. The concept of the ‘customer loyalty mirror’ is nothing new: Those businesses with highly engaged people are far more likely to have loyal customers. To achieve great customer relationships employers of all sizes simply must seek to find ways to support employees. It is well documented that people are more productive when they have a sense of belonging and are part of something bigger than themselves – which ultimately delivers commercial success for any business.
About five years into my entrepreneurial journey at RedBalloon I found that the turnover of employees had reached 64% – and it seemed like people were always on ‘sick’ leave. It was frustrating for me (and those left in the office picking up the slack). I had to do something. I knew there was no one other than myself, as the leader of the business, who could take responsibility for that. It was not ‘them’, it was ‘me’. I had to transform who I was as a leader of people. I had to realise that people were not there to work for me – I was there to support them. If I supported their well-being, then they could be there to support the well-being of our customers,” Naomi Simson, BRG Co-Founder.
Loyalty from your people is one of the most powerful expressions of contribution – and it needs to be recognised. People will stay longer (retention), work harder (less absenteeism) and give more discretionary effort (work hard) if they feel recognised and celebrated for their contribution. And this is relevant for clients, customers and suppliers as well as your direct team.
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Also published on Medium.