When it comes down to what keeps a good business going, many of us — employees or employers — wonder what are those magic ingredients we need to use in order to be the lucky owners of the perfect recipe. Some say professionalism is the key, others bet on a good management policy and others are sure that for every business, the lifeblood is its employees.
Let’s find out which story is more plausible and why.
Story no. 1 — Professionalism
Whether it’s a small startup or en established business, you will need professional people working for you. First of all, it’s important that your employees have the proper education, training and experience to handle the jobs they are hired to do.
Also, it’s great if they are professional about the way they do it as well — people with good organizational and communication skills, people who know how to manage their time and effort, who are good with managing tools and resources will always be an asset for your company.
Story no. 2 — Good management
On an upper level, a company needs good management to be able to survive. Basically, no amount of money invested or professional people working for you will compensate for a bad administration of all these.
A competent management team will be in touch with the company’s goals and purposes, with what its employees need and how they can help them grow; good management will have a clue about the company’s field of business and will get involved in all its efforts and undertakings.
Story no. 3 — People
At the end of the day, you might say that most of what your business is resides in its people, in the way they collaborate with each other and with the employer, in the extra mile they go to make sure the clients are happy, in the humanity they stand for among all the automatized tools and processed out there.
It’s safe to say the the long-term success of any company depends heavily upon the quality of its workers and worker loyalty. Considering this, it should come natural for every business to have a solid and detailed plan in place to ensure its employees are engaged. Let’s detail a bit more on the topic of loyalty on all its levels.
Loyalty is 3-dimensional
Loyalty is defined as the firm, unwavering devotion to a person or cause. In business the term loyalty can refer to customer, brand, or employee loyalty.
Customer loyalty is extremely important in any business as it is the customer that should come back to get more of the same or related products and services that keeps a company going for a long time. Of course, it’s always great to gain new customers, but a one-time customer will not have as large an effect in the company’s long-term well being as a loyal customer will.
Brand loyalty refers to the client’s loyalty to your company’s brand, to what it stands for beyond the actual products or services it provides. For instance, many Americans and not only Americans are loyal to all of Apple’s products, as they feel like anything they might chose will be high-quality. When people are loyal to a brand, they become more likely to purchase new products based only on the positive impact the brand has had on their perception in the past. They are also less likely to consider the competition
Employee Loyalty refers to employees being loyal to a company. This type of loyalty is built in time and is fostered by the employee’s trust and belief in what the company does. Loyal employees have a good experience working for that company and constantly struggle to do a good job. The result of their efforts is the company being able to build better products or services. While employee loyalty doesn’t matter much to some companies, others see it as a competitive advantage and work to build it.
Employee loyalty is a rare commodity
But even when a company invests in building an environment that would nurture and encourage customer loyalty, nothing guarantees the outcome. As experience shows it, loyalty has an expiration date and sometimes it hangs off a thread. But how do you know when your employee has crossed to the other side? Are there signs and a safe way you can foresee such an unfortunate event? And when it happens, how much is it advisable to fight to bring them back to you and when do you know it’s time to put an end to it?
So many questions, so few clear answers. The truth is people are tricky and trust in business is a risky business.
Let’s see what we do know. First of all, loyalty has nothing to do with length of employment, but it has everything to do with actions. Think about this — which employee displays greater loyalty: the employee who has been with you for ten years and in that time has learned to do just enough to fly solo or the employee who has been with you for a year and believes in what you are doing and where you’re going, and also proves it with actions every day?
We believe you will agree door no. 2 is a winner, which of course does not by any means entail that experience is not important, because it is and it should be valued and appreciated.
Secondly, loyalty has nothing to do with blind obedience. A loyal employee is not that who keeps his head down and tells you what you want to hear. On the contrary, he can tell you what you least want to hear — that an initiative won’t work, that a decision-making process is flawed, that a mistake has been made. Truly loyal employees realize that while you may not like what you hear, ultimately you want to hear it because what matters most is doing what is best for your company.
So keep in mind — well-intended silence can be a good sign of loyalty; speaking up, however, especially when it’s awkward or even painful to do so, can be the best sign.
Also, loyalty goes hand in hand with integrity. So keep your eyes open for signs that your employees appreciate (or don’t appreciate!) ethics more than profit or personal interest. Often employees have the tendency to agree with anything you or others might say, as long as the outcome benefits them. Unthinking and unquestioning are not good signs of loyalty.
So when one of your people makes a point of integrity in a decision you’re jumping to, you may see them as disloyal, but in time you’ll realize that they displayed the highest form of loyalty by helping you avoid missing the “do the right thing” forest for the “do it right now” trees.
Loyal employees get behind the company’s goals as if they were their own. They support you in public. They praise their peers, making caring the basis of true loyalty. They treat you like a person, not like a boss.
Honestly, let’s talk about honesty
So honestly, do you have this employee? Do you recognize these in some of the people you talk to every day? Or on the contrary, did you pick up on some clues that a few of your favorite employees show signs of make-pretend loyalty?
All these questions are for you to ponder on. Ultimately, if you agree people come first in the list of reasons why your company is successful, you will invest more in growing loyal employees and you will more easily say goodbye to those who are only going to drag you down.
At TRISOFT we are fortunate to have loyal employees, as we’re working hard to create a culture that recognizes and rewards true loyalty. However, we have to admit that the way here was not just rainbows and butterflies and experience has taught us a few harsh lessons as well. One of the most valuable being that betting everything on one person might not be the wisest choice.
And while we know that building an organization of committed, loyal employees comes down to demonstrating that the company deserves their loyalty, we have recently learnt that in some cases no matter what you do people can be deceiving, so trusting your instincts can be a much safer bet than any management process ever invented.