In my next few posts, I’ll address the issue of employee loyalty: why employees aren’t loyal, what is employee engagement, and whether tracking employee engagement is useful.
Earlier this year, someone told me that a potential supervisor implied if they promoted this individual they expected this individual to stay with the company out of loyalty for promoting them. If this was 1983, I wouldn’t be surprised. But it’s not. In 2013, staying with a company out of obligation is a belief very few employees hold. Loyalty in the workplace today looks different from what it looked like 30 years ago. Companies are not as loyal to their employees as they were in 1983. In 2013, many companies are so loyal to the bottom line, they don’t have time to be loyal to their employees.
I’m not suggesting that supervisors think the worst of their employees. There are many employees that will stay with a company out of obligation, but that number is small. With everything that has happened in the world economy since 2008, employers shouldn’t expect many employees to be loyal. Times have changed, and each generation is less loyal than the one before it. Gen Xers are not the loyal employees that Baby Boomers were. I don’t think the notion of being loyal crosses the mind of Gen Yers.
During a government shutdown, government sequestration, mass layoffs, and Detroit,MI and Jefferson County, AL filing bankruptcy, who has time to be loyal? For years, employees have been forced to do more work with no increase in pay. With all of this going on, who is going to be loyal to their employer? When your livelihood is at stake, you’re not going to stay with a company just to be loyal.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with being loyal to a company. If your company treats you well, why not be loyal? On the other hand, being loyal out of a sense of obligation can be professional and — more importantly — financial suicide. Even if companies weren’t so self-absorbed, the world’s economic climate is such that it’s every man and woman for themselves.
In 2013, company loyalty does exist. But I wouldn’t suggest any supervisor to expect it. Finding loyal employees is difficult because there is so much dysfuntionality in today’s workplaces. It’s really as simple as this: if you want high employee retention, treat people right. Employees are loyal to companies when companies are loyal to employees. There’s no magic bullet for this, just plain ‘ole common sense.
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