Legendary businesswoman Mary Kay Ash said people are definitely a company’s greatest asset.
“It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics,” she said. “A company is only as good as the people it keeps.”
Demonstrating loyalty to those who work for you can be conveyed in many ways, and loyalty begets loyalty.
The benefits are indisputable, and include higher retention and productivity.
Tips on inspiring loyalty:
Create engagement opportunities. Jamie Haenggi, chief marketing officer of ADT (ADT) — one of the country’s largest home and business security concerns — says the company recently helped define its story by reaching out to its employees across 200 local branch offices. The question asked was: What does ADT mean to them?
“The exercise resulted in hundreds of creative and collaborative submissions, which not only helped shape the outcome of our story and messaging, it also provided employees a sense of ownership beyond their day-to-day roles and responsibilities,” she said.
Brian Kropp, human resources practice leader at CEB — a research and advisory firm serving mainly Fortune 500 and 1000 companies — added that in order to create a more inclusive environment, companies “should collaborate more with their employees to bring in different perspectives (and) focus on open communication strategies that make employees feel part of the larger conversation.”
Get specific. Often an employee may hear, “good job,” Haenggi says, but there may not be any real acknowledgement of the exact action or effort that person made, which contributed to the overall success.
“I like to make sure I know the details behind what the employee was working on and how their specific work made a difference,” she said. “I also like to add my own style of ‘thank you,’ which includes a pair of funky socks with a ‘you rocked my socks’ shout-out or note.”
Personalize. It’s not a secret that employees are motivated when they know you care, but leaders have to demonstrate that.
A great motivator and driver of culture is when you invest yourself into employees, Haenggi said, “whether that is knowing the details of their job and their results, knowing about them personally, and also, investing the time to coach and develop them into the best they can be.”
Shower with appreciation. Ashish Rangnekar, CEO and co-founder at BenchPrep, an exam-preparation platform for professional success, says that members of his company express their values in ways like coming together over convenient, communal lunches. They also offer significant financial allowances annually for each employee to put toward professional development opportunities.
Distribute information. Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which has 600 franchises in 45 states, believes that doing so promotes company loyalty among its employees because they’re treated as partners in the business, said their CEO Mike Rotondo.
“We share our metrics with our employees and franchisees on a regular basis from app downloads, online orders, cafe-opening projections,” in addition to relevant financial information, he said.
The company also gives updates at their support center during weekly breakfast breaks and quarterly business meetings. They provide quarterly webinars and annual conferences to keep everyone up to date.
Ensure clarity. Create your culture and make sure it’s evident to employees that there is one.
Lee Caraher, CEO of digital marketing agency Double Forte, and author of “The Boomerang Principle: Inspire Lifetime Loyalty From Your Employees” and “Millennials & Management,” suggests that leaders go through this checklist:
- Do you have a strong vision that everyone is proud to recite?
- Do you have values that make that vision possible? Are you a high-appreciation culture?
- Does the company leadership style come from a coaching or a command-and-control point of view?
- Can your employees articulate what opportunities exist for them at your organization?
- Do you consistently set high expectations and provide the support required to meet them?
“If you answered yes to these questions,” said Caraher, “you have a culture of value.”
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