By Will Lukang, PMP, MBA, MASCL
In the age of instant gratification and competitive marketplace, loyalty seems to be a dying breed. Back in the days when our parents were working, they would work for the same company their entire careers and then look forward to retiring and enjoying their pensions. At the same time, they would encourage their children to also work for the same company in the future.
These days people have a lot of options and companies are willing to pay a premium to snatch top talents from their competitors. People are drawn to getting instantaneous reward, be that pay increases, more perks or promotions. But there is more to it than people just wanting more. The corporate culture has changed. Companies used to value people as their most important assets. As such, they would take the time to invest in them; that included providing pensions for their retired employees. That has since changed. The focus has shifted to watching the bottom line. As a result, employees feel as if the company does not value long-term relationships. While generating revenue is important, it is equally important to have the right people doing the work.
So, do we just let those employees who have been with our companies for a long time go work for our competitors? I would think the answer is a resounding no. Then, companies should make a conscious effort to keep them.
Why are loyal employees important to us?
Business knowledge – in most cases our loyal employees are our subject-matter experts. Although we now live in a technology-driven society, people are still our most important assets. Technology is a tool. Without the right people working with the tool, the tool is no more useful than what it is intended for. Without the right people who are loyal and dedicated, we cannot sustain the level of service that would, in effect, yield a sustainable level of performance.
Understanding the challenges – experience is the best teacher. The loyal employees have experience dealing with work challenges and can provide insights on how to resolve the issue. That is not to say that you would not benefit from a fresh pair of eyes, but experience dealing with the process cannot be discounted.
Talent pool – keeping loyal employees could provide the company with a rich talent pool that could increase its competitive advantage. Also, promoting from within could increase the employees’ morale.
In the end, the company would benefit from keeping the loyal employees happy, because it could help benefit lower turnover and help the companies sustain their competitive advantage. The main advantage of keeping loyal employees is retention of the proprietary knowledge that would be hard to replace. As a leader, you must harness the capabilities of your loyal employees and value their opinions. Because if you don’t they will leave your firm and your loss will be someone’s gain.