Commitment, Loyalty, and Trust
It used to be that during difficult periods or times of economic strife that companies would look to their employees for increased commitment, for sustaining loyalty and trust. Through the challenges of any day, a company could depend upon a committed workforce to follow the lead of the organizations heroes and make it through the rain. But sadly, we live and work in times where trust is perishable and loyalty is disposable. Gone are the days of the gold watch goodbye following 40 years of service – merely a pipe dream of work days long ago.
Underpaid and overworked, employees turned to unions and politics to make work-life better. And for a while it was. But lawsuits, job hopping, and poor performance have created an environment where trust is lacking on both sides of the equation. Company culture seems to be reserved for small start-ups with everything to gain or large Fortune 500 companies with nothing to lose. Blame is easy when no one takes responsibility for lack of culture, an unengaged or uncommitted workforce, and a revolving door for employees to come, then quickly leave.
Somewhere along the way, someone thought to start calling personnel or employees “human capital” – as if to redefine what employees represent: an investment. I’m not sure it worked. As a matter of fact, I am quite certain that human capital is an awful phrase, for while human is there (as part of the name) the truth of it is somehow removed and anonymized. Sadly, the ploy did not work. How an organization’s human capital feels about said organization and their own contribution makes a difference. Employee commitment does affect the bottom line.
Perhaps having a vision or a mission statement – corporate values – makes a difference. Perhaps cultivating a diverse and friendly company culture will spark the fire of employee trust and commitment. Perhaps. Fostering commitment is a pretentious corporate goal when not backed by sincerity and authentic concern for employees. Values can be the difference, but they need not be lofty corporate values, but simple daily ideals of employee appreciation and reverence for quality. Quality service and quality product are, sadly, still a rarity and often thought of as non-affordable during recessions or times of strife. Even so, many execs still stare at spreadsheets and intensely evaluate ROI as the sole determing factors of prosperity or success.
“Sooner or later, the best return will be the one that affects not only a company’s finances but also its social dimension, because this aspect touches the entire workforce, and therefor influences people’s degree of motivation and their performance. Organizations seeking a return above all else should not consider ethical criterion among others, but as an essential lever to increasing their market value.” – Ups and Downs of Talent Management in Challenging Business Environments
Lack of Quality
Surveys and studies over the last several years have revealed that the lack of quality leadership is the main reason individuals leave a job. And it can be also noted that strong leadership (a great boss) is the most notable reason individuals stay with a job. Huh, imagine that. Leadership makes a difference in company culture, loyalty, and trust – even more important than raises, bonuses, or other financial incentives. And while valuable employees today may not commit to a company or brand, they will pledge undying loyalty to the right leader, the right boss.
Developing trust and engendering fierce loyalty are not out of the question today. Money does not create employee commitment. Reciprocal respect, trust, learning, development, praise, good communication, and opportunity do. It isn’t hard, but neither is it easy. Again, if it were, every company would be the powerhouse organization they long to be. And if wishes were fishes, the seas would be full.
The sustained involvement of leaders fosters better understanding, better relationships, and closer social ties that help build employee loyalty, even during difficult times.
by Rayanne Thorn
Talent Management Series
Part 1: The Greatest Challenge for Businesses Today? Talent Management
Part 2: Successful Talent Management Requires Creative Retention
Part 3: Culture Breeds Commitment: The Truth about Talent Loyalty
Part 4: 5 Simple Reasons You Didn’t Get The Job
**Some information presented in this series comes from the book, Ups and Downs of Talent Management in Challenging Business Environments. If you’d like a free copy of this quick read, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to send you a copy. Thanks!