Most of my career has been dedicated to deeply understanding customers, creating insights for brands that help them grow. That growth might be a new or updated product that squarely meets the needs of the consumer, or an advertising campaign that communicates user benefits in a compelling way.
Throughout this wonderful, 20+ year career journey, I’ve learned a thing or two about creating brand loyalty. Regardless of the industry or exact audience I’ve worked with, the way to create loyalty is amazingly consistent – it’s about trust, appreciation and purpose.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m finding the same thing as I apply my insights expertise to the workplace and employee experience. Every organization is a brand, and employees are consumers of that brand. Therefore, the tenets for building brand loyalty between an employer and employee are very similar. Why? Because the basis for any type of loyalty is rooted in our humanness and the creation of solid relationships.
That said, creating loyalty in the workplace isn’t an easy task. In fact, while most workers feel they’re loyal to their employer, only about half feel their company is loyal to them in return1. Organizations must make it a strategic priority to deliver on the promises of their employer brand and employee relationships, helping employees understand how their work contributes to the whole.
In a world where there are more jobs available than candidates to fill them2, creating employee loyalty is critical for attracting and retaining talent. And, it pays off: Companies with highly satisfied employees outperform others by 2-4%3 and enjoy significantly more productivity4.
J. Paul Getty said it best: “The employer generally gets the employees he deserves.” How do you deserve – and get – loyal employees? Here are a few thoughts:
Just like in other areas of life, if there’s no trust between an employee and their employer, there’s no relationship and no loyalty. Employees will quit – or worse, they’ll “quit and stay,” and their attitude and performance will suffer. How does an organization build trust with its employees? There are countless suggestions, but I think it all boils down to this: Companies must do what they say they’re going to do. When things change, and they can no longer deliver on a promise they’ve made, they must be upfront with employees about why.
Employees will choose to do their best every day if they feel genuinely valued and appreciated. This can only happen after employees trust the organization; in the absence of trust, acts of appreciation will feel empty and fall flat.
More than 80% of people say they’d work harder for a more grateful boss5. Do this by giving credit where it’s due for a job well done. Help employees understand how their own work contributes to the success of the organization. And, take the time to know employees as people, including what their lives look like outside of work.
Give employees something to believe in – a purpose
Workplaces are often a reﬂection of who we are as individuals, so it’s important for many employees that their personal values align with the organization’s values. Naturally, companies that are clear on their purpose give employees a sense of meaning and fulfillment6 and even perform better than their counterparts7. But, given more than 1/3 of employees say there’s a disconnect between their organization’s stated purpose and its daily actions8, getting purpose right can be easier said than done. My colleague, Cindy Blackstock, recently offered some helpful advice on how companies can use their purpose to improve the employee experience.
Have you experienced a workplace culture that demonstrates these loyalty-building behaviors? Did it make a difference in the performance and retention of the organization’s employees? We’d love to hear your examples to help inspire others!
1 Career Builder survey, 2017; 2 CNN Money, 2018; 3 Harvard Business Review, 2016; 4 Gallup: State of the American Workplace, 2017; 5 John Templeton Foundation; 6 Harvard Business Review: The Business Case for Purpose; 7 Korn Ferry; 8 EY: Deriving Value from Purpose
Julie is an executive with a proven track record for brand building and team building. She is skilled at leveraging disparate resources to unlock new insights and create human-centric strategies. She has held several client service roles in her career and is adept at working collaboratively to set clear goals and deliver on expectations.
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