There is no doubt that loyalty yields increased profits, but we need to start at the beginning to get it right.
Loyalty is concerned with emotions and memory in the brain. Loyalty develops when we build a specific bond to someone or something based upon a feel good factor, such as extra kindness, thoughtfulness or material gain. These activate the reward systems, so that we feel more motivated to seek that reward, thus repeating our ‘good’ behaviour.
So how can we reward loyalty? As business leaders however, consider this, are we an example of the qualities we look for in our employees? Simply put do we demonstrate the loyalty we require from others? If not we will be seen as having neither honesty nor integrity and will not receive loyalty in return.
If however, we are leading a hot bed of fully engaged and loyal staff, how do we acknowledge and show our appreciation?
Our first thoughts often lie with monetary rewards in terms of an increase in salary, bonuses, stock options, merchandise etc. Research in motivation, incentives and inspiring talent shows however that there are more effective ways of rewarding people. Of course, if someone is in a low paid job then money is a real concern, but even those who are only just above this threshold are more motivated by other means of recognition too.
Since childhood we work for praise and this doesn’t change. When our efforts are noticed and mentioned we will exceed expectations. This is normal, but there is more to it than that. How is that praise delivered – in open forum or in a private conversation with our boss or head of the company? In actual fact all three should be used.
An announcement internally is highly effective, but a personal conversation up-line is powerful. Especially if the boss is interested in the well-being of the employee. Does that boss know the name(s) of the employees family? Is that boss interested in their development? When an employee knows that they are heard and someone is interested in their growth they will work that extra mile.
Loyalty is the key to business success. Hear your employees, talk to your employees, command respect from your employees and don’t forget to say thank to your employees for all their hard word.
Here are some tips to rewarding loyalty:-
1. Keep up a routine of weekly or biweekly meetings with your staff. At these meetings you should ensure that staff are fully informed of company plans, new hiring’s, client wins and losses and more. Ask them to be involved in the meetings and to come to them with ideas.
2. Organising a night out at least once a year can help you engage with your employees on a personal level. Let your hair down (carefully) and show your employees that you’re not so serious and can have fun too.
3. Everyone appreciates being appreciated, so make sure you praise your employees when they have worked hard and when they have succeeded. Giving rewards and incentives is a great way to show your appreciation.
4. Never take credit for work that your employees have done, give credit where credit is due.
5. Take time to understand what your employees want to achieve and what their interests are. With this understanding you can help train them in the most suitable areas so that they are able to progress to where they want to be. Try to continually motivate your staff to fulfil their ambitions and help where you can to get them there.