All team managers will agree: Keeping your qualified, talented, and dedicated employees engaged and loyal is one of the most crucial parts of the job.
Case in point, 87% of human resource managers say improving employee retention is a top priority for both long and short-term.
Retaining your top employees is critical for a number of reasons.
For one, your loyal, engaged, long-time employees are also likely to be the most talented. Their knowledge and skill, backed by years of experience ensure they’ll be some of the most productive members of your team.
What’s more, your most loyal employees are likely to be those who shape your company culture and help keep your team tightly-knit. Since they have more experience with how (and why) your organization operates, they can help other team members stay focused on achieving your company’s goals.
Similarly, your long-time employees are a repository of knowledge, skills, and experience relating to your industry. Because of this, they can be an invaluable resource when it comes to training new employees, optimizing your team’s current processes, and making other improvements within your organization.
Looking at all this another way, failing to retain your talented employees can lead to a number of negative outcomes for your company:
- Gaps in productivity as you seek a replacement for the position and get the new hire up to speed
- Loss of any investments you’ve made regarding the lost employee’s professional development
- Loss of knowledge and expertise (which, if your former employee defects to a competitor, will doubly hurt your organization)
Needless to say, all of this will have a profoundly negative impact on your company.
It’s simple; You have every reason to keep your talented employees on board and growing within your organization and every reason to not let them slip through your fingers. So, how can you do this? By prioritizing on employee loyalty. And how do you improve employee loyalty? Let us show you how.
9 Simple Ways to Improve Employee Loyalty
Employee Loyalty is no trivial affair. Loyal employees are an asset and help drive growth and revenue to your organization. So, if organizational growth is a priority, then you must spend time in creating a workplace that goes in line with your employees’ expectations in order to improve loyalty. Well, if that’s the case you might as well give this article a read. Here are 9 insanely simple ways to manage and improve employee loyalty.
1. Align Your Employees with Your Organization’s Vision
The modern employee thrives on having a sense of purpose in their careers that go well beyond a paycheck.
While earning sufficient wages is important, it is also likely that your employees are also looking to get more intrinsic value from their experiences with your organization. In fact, a 2018 study by WeSpire found that employees belonging to Gen-Z typically prioritize purpose over salary when assessing a potential job opportunity.
There are two things to consider when looking to provide this sense of purpose to your employees:
First, you need to ensure their professional vision aligns with that of your organization. Basically, you want to know that your employees actually care about what your company aims to do for your industry and for the global community.
You should also be sure that your employees’ ethical vision aligns with that of your organization. Overall, you stand a much better chance of retaining employees who share your company’s vision in terms of social, environmental, and overall responsibility.
Aligning your employees with your organization’s vision—and maintaining this alignment—is a process that involves:
- Communicating the importance of alignment in the first place
- Collaboratively developing and enhancing your team’s vision
- Maintaining constant contact and focus on your vision as time goes on
2. Standardize and Streamline Your Processes
As a manager, one of your key duties is to ensure your employees can complete their assigned duties in the most efficient and productive way possible. To set the stage for this productivity, you’ll need to standardize and optimize your team’s various processes. This means developing standard operating procedures and the accompanying documentation.
Your organization’s SOP documents should include:
- Clear, concise, and comprehensive instructions for completing certain tasks or processes
- Information regarding who is responsible for completing specific tasks
- Lists of resources to be used as your employees complete said tasks
When creating your organization’s vision, you’ll want to allow your employees to have a say when developing your standard operating procedures.
For one thing, it ensures the processes you develop are optimized for efficiency (since your on-the-ground team will know how to best approach the situation in question). Moreover, involving your employees in this decision-making process will leave them feeling empowered—making them more likely to stay loyal to your company moving forward.
3. Enable Your Employees
For your employees to be successful in their duties and to, therefore, derive purpose from their efforts you need to enable them to work to their maximum potential.
For new hires, an engaging and informative onboarding experience is crucial. A comprehensive onboarding process that allows new employees to hit the ground running can ultimately lead to an astounding 82% increase in employee retention.
Overall, employee enablement involves:
- Identifying and removing blockers
- Continually tweaking and optimizing workflows and other processes
- Consistently seeking out new tools and technology to maximize productivity
- Fitting team members with tasks that best fit their skills, abilities, and knowledge
Your dedicated employees want to put their best effort into everything they do. If for whatever reason, their hands are tied, it can lead to frustration, apathy, and even animosity toward your organization, which, of course, isn’t conducive to retention.
But, by doing whatever’s needed to enable your employees, you’ll allow them to focus on their work at all times—keeping them engaged and loyal to your company in the process.
4. Empower Your Employees
Making your employees feel empowered within your organization is vital to keeping them on board.
In fact, 70% of employees say that a feeling of empowerment is a key factor in keeping them engaged and loyal to their company. What’s more, 67% say they’re more willing to put their best effort into their work when their managers make them feel empowered.
More than just enabling your employees to efficiently accomplish their assigned tasks, empowerment is about allowing them to “go all-in” in providing value to your organization. This involves:
- Providing them the autonomy needed to work to their full potential—even if it means “going off script” at times
- Opening the door for collaboration and other teamwork-related efforts whenever needed
- Soliciting—and actually heeding—any suggestions or advice they may have about certain aspects of their work and the overall organization
Show your talented and dedicated employees they have the power to spur your organization to greatness. The feeling of being empowered will improve employee loyalty and encourage them to stick to your organization.
5. Provide Flexibility to Your Employees
Flexibility in the workplace has become a pretty hot topic in recent years—and even more so during the current global shutdown.
Across the board, 73% of employees say that flexibility adds to their overall job satisfaction, with 78% saying flexibility allows them to be more productive. Again, both of these factors play a heavy role in the employee’s decision to remain loyal to their company.
There are two key areas in which employees typically look for flexibility: Where they work, and when they work.
As you know, the Coronavirus shutdown has led to millions of employees working from home. In some ways, the shutdown has essentially forced employers’ hands: By today’s standards, many employees actually prefer to work from home—shutdown or not. Basically, if your employees can work remotely without sacrificing productivity, you need to enable them to do so.
Time-wise, the modern employee appreciates being able to work when they know they’re most productive—not just during traditional business hours. If they can do better work in three off-hours than they would an entire 9-5 workday, well…you’d better allow them to do so.
6. Facilitate Communication and Collaboration
Creating an organization that thrives on communication and collaboration is huge for the purpose of employee loyalty and retention. First of all, teams that communicate and work well together typically experience a number of benefits, such as:
- Higher productivity levels
- Better alignment and cohesiveness
- Less friction and fewer hangups
On a more personal level, allowing your employees to work more closely with each other can lead to the formation of valuable friendships—both within and outside of the workplace. The better your teammates know each other, the better will be their collective work. (And, of course, the fact that they enjoy each other’s company gives them even more reason to stay onboard.)
As we’ve established, all of these things lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction—which, of course, has a major impact on retention.
Your employees should also feel comfortable communicating upwards whenever necessary. Whether it be to gain clarification on certain instructions or to allow them to make their voices heard, creating lines of communication between you and your employees can make them more likely to stay on board.
Simply put: You can’t keep your employees engaged if you don’t allow them to communicate freely with their team members; including yourself and other higher-level individuals. If your employees aren’t engaged in their work, there’s little chance of them staying on board for much longer.
7. Continually Offer Constructive Feedback
Along with opening the door for your employees to reach out to you, you also need to proactively maintain close communication with them. The reason being; it’s what the modern employee wants.
Case in point, a study found out that:
- 92% of employees prefer to be given formal feedback on their performance at least twice a year
- 72% want to receive such feedback on a monthly basis
- 49% thrive on weekly feedback from their supervisors
Of course, this only applies to constructive feedback—which is exactly the type of feedback that serves to keep employees loyal to an organization.
In keeping with what we’ve said throughout this article, the goal is to enable them to work to their highest capacity. By providing laser-focused feedback on their performance and efforts, you allow your team members to understand exactly what they’re doing well and where they may need to make improvements.
On top of that, providing constructive feedback also serves to provide recognition to your employees on an individual level. We’ll talk more about this momentarily, but for now, just know that employees who feel valued are much more likely to remain loyal to your company than those who don’t feel so appreciated.
8. Provide Opportunities for Growth
Piggybacking off of the previous point, you can boost employee loyalty and retain top-performing employees by providing them opportunities to grow in their professional careers.
According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 93% of employees say they would stay with a company that provided ongoing opportunities for growth. Conversely, 70% of disloyal employees cite a lack of professional development and career advancement opportunities as a key reason for defecting.
Also worth noting, when employees feel like their on-the-job duties are preparing them for career advancement and professional growth, they are 20% more likely to still be with their company at least one more year.
There are a number of ways to provide growth opportunities to your employees, such as:
- Structured training and development sessions leading to up-leveling in professional skills as well as certification and licensure in specific areas
- On-demand sessions your employees can digest individually
- Mentor/mentee sessions (or ongoing relationships)
- Knowledge cafes and other collaborative brainstorming activities to help with sharing tacit knowledge
- Simulated role-playing demonstrations
Note that these professional development opportunities should also come with opportunities for career advancement—and all of the benefits that come with it. While professional growth does give value to your employees, they do also need to know their efforts are paying off in the form of promotions, raises, and the like.
It just makes sense:
If your top-performing employees know their efforts to grow will lead to better things for them both professionally and personally, they’ll have no reason to look elsewhere for on-the-job fulfillment.
9. Recognize Employees in Ways That Matter
An act of recognition can go a long way in fortifying employee loyalty towards an organization. According to a report, 21.5% of employees who don’t feel recognized by their organization had applied to or interviewed for new jobs within the last three months.
Backing this up, Gallup found that underappreciated employees are two times more likely to quit within the next year.
Clearly, recognizing your employee for their efforts and their ability to provide value to your organization is key to keeping them around. But, the recognition you provide your employees must be on their terms.
Above all, you don’t want to come off as being superficial or, worse yet, patronizing when recognizing your employees for their efforts or performance. Going this route can actually backfire, and leave your top-performing employees feeling less valued than they had previously felt.
So, for starters, the recognition you provide needs to be authentic and meaningful to the employee(s) being recognized. It’s not about you doing “something nice” for these hard-working individuals; it’s about them getting something they’ll appreciate in return for their extra efforts.
There’s really no “right way” to do this; it all depends on what your employees see as proper recognition. In some cases, simply treating your team to lunch may be enough to boost their spirits. In others, merely buying lunch might not feel like much of a reward considering the extra effort your team has put into their work.
As we mentioned earlier, providing recognition to your employees can also be intrinsically rewarding to them, too. Something as simple as pointing out the tangible value an employee has added to the company can sometimes be enough to keep them motivated and productive moving forward.
Be it via intrinsic or extrinsic means, recognizing each member of your workforce is essential for improving employee loyalty.
If your employees don’t feel valued for the work they perform for your organization, they’re bound to start looking elsewhere for a company that appreciates them. The need to prioritize employee loyalty cannot be stressed enough. Here’s what you can do. Read through our tips and note down the best practices suited for your organization and implement them.