What does loyalty mean to you? I return to this subject because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.
Throughout my journey I’ve always believed in being totally loyal to my colleagues, employees, customers and investors. I can’t imagine running any kind of business without loyalty being at its core. Morally and ethically, it is just the right thing to do. It’s something that’s in every bone in my body. It’s in my heart and soul. It’s in my DNA.
I’ve stuck with people through thick and thin. Because that’s the way I am. That’s what loyalty is. It’s being faithful. It’s having an allegiance that goes beyond convenience and opportunism. Loyalty is complete and constant. It’s unswerving. It’s not fickle. It’s definitely not stabbing you in the back.
So it comes as a complete shock when loyalty is not always reciprocated.
Sadly, it’s lack of loyalty that sets the wrong example for young workers—the generation of Millenials, aged between 19 and 26, who are certainly becoming a major percentage of employees in the high-tech industry.
No wonder that a major survey just published found that only one in 100 human resource professionals believe that Millenials are loyal to their employers. Conversely, in the survey of 6,000 young jobseekers and HR professionals by online career network Beyond.com, more than eight in ten of the young workers themselves felt that they were loyal. That’s a serious disconnect.
Another study—this one by MetLife—reported that only 47 percent of employees feel very strong loyalty to their employers, down 12 percent from three years earlier. Worse still, perhaps, a survey by Mercer, a global outplacement consulting firm, discovered that nearly 21 percent of workers had an openly negative view of their employers and, while they were not actively seeking a position elsewhere, had become disengaged from their jobs.
Interestingly, as a side note, in the Beyond.com survey some 86 percent of Millennials say they are hard workers, while only 11 percent of HR professionals have that opinion of them.
But back to loyalty. In the broader picture you can see why companies need to work harder than ever to engender loyalty amongst employees. In today’s economy many young workers have been laid off more than once and they see older colleagues forced out of the jobs market years earlier than they had planned. Unless they can be convinced that there is a long-term future with your company they may always be looking around for greener pastures.
It’s a challenge. So what can companies do? Employers can start by creating a work environment that’s friendly and stimulating. They can open up innovative opportunities for their workers to continue to learn and improve their skills. They can deliver inspiration and motivation. And, of great importance, they can give credit where credit is due—and go out of their way to recognize and honor the contributions of employees.
Loyalty is a two-way street. Employers need to foster loyalty with their employees, by making them believe in a vision. Employees need equally to regard loyalty as a character trait that is meaningful and gives greater purpose to their lives.
What kind of Karma is in your life? Never settle for short-term desires, always take the route of loyalty.