If we dig deep into the philosophy of loyalty, we would never put it aside in any relationship or bonding.
Loyalty is an emotional state and it drives selflessness. Thus loyal people are willing to sacrifice and want to serve for their emotional satisfaction.
But here is the problem.
Loyalty is not something that evolves on its own. It can be produced or destroyed with actions.
If you are a manager or another leading role in your business you are influencing your employees. It’s all up to you to either make them loyal or treacherous.
If you do the right things and take the right steps, you can make them happy and loyal.
After researching and practically experiencing in my institution, I have found that there are 11 most effective and powerful tools that leaders and managers can use to make their employees loyal.
The tools, discussed below, apparently might sound hard to take on because all are employee-centered. But remember, all your business success depends on the employees. You can’t achieve business goals without a happy and productive team.
So investing a little time in making employees happy will not only make them satisfied but also loyal to your business.
I also understand no one can be ideal for all employees. So you can’t make all employees happy all the time. So what to do in such situations?
There is still a way to satisfy them when you can’t make them happy. We will discuss it in the end.
Now, let’s move forward to the 11 most-effective tools to make employees loyal to your business. The following tools are equally applicable for any business type: startups, SMBs, and companies.
First, be loyal to your employees.
Employee loyalty begins with employer loyalty.– Harvey Mackay
We all are emotional animals. We spend most of our lives satisfying our emotions.
Let’s say we have a sense of emotion that we are responsible for our family. So we go to any extent for our family.
The same is for every relationship. We have pure feelings for some of our friends. We are happy when they succeed, and we genuinely face anxiety if they are in trouble.
All this is not for no reason. Such feelings are induced over time; by sacrificing and valuing one another.
In short, any emotional attachment is one-to-one bonding. It’s a both-way process. If you are loyal to the employees, it will magically induce loyalty in your employees.
This can’t be 100% true because of many external factors. So once you are loyal to your employees, don’t expect the same every time.
You might not know the circumstances your employees are living in.
So to make them even more loyal, you should also understand them: know their life goals, their purposes, and their difficulties.
All this will make you realize to which extent you should build expectations.
Let’s see what else you can do to make employees loyal to your business.
Value their role
Researchers have proved that we strive to feel valued. Value leads to trust and trust makes people loyal.
Thus it’s another powerful tool to make employees loyal to your business.
If you are not valuing your employees or even their roles, surely they will be less involved in their jobs. They will keep dreaming of some valuable jobs. Because they want to make a difference.
Here is an example.
A manager must value every role no matter how big or small it is. Even your sweeper should realize he is doing an important task and cleanliness is a core part of company values.
Secondly, if they don’t do their work properly, it will negatively impact overall employees performance.
In short, if you make them realize that they are as important as any other employee, it will make them feel valued and hence loyal to the business.
It was one example. There could be many other ways to recognize and value your employees. The simplest one is to nominate an employee of the month or quarter regularly. It makes employees emotionally attached to the business, and value their jobs.
Appreciation is one of the biggest free tools to make people loyal to your company.
Psychologists agree that all humans love to be appreciated. Appreciation makes us feel that we are being noticed by leaders, and our work has a great significance in their business.
This makes them feel special and valued.
Appreciation doesn’t cost anything. Kenneth Blanchard in the book “One Minute Manager” says that even one minute of appreciation is enough to make people feel valued, and take responsibility for their work.
But unfortunately, 59% of the Americans reported (in a poll) that they were never appreciated by their managers.
This makes them feel disappointed and disloyal. In a study, it was found that 66% of the employees would rather like to quit their jobs if they were not appreciated.
Many successful businesses keep appreciation an integral part of their business. They have realized that it matters the most.
Even if an employee is going against business values, don’t say anything publically.
A couple of days ago, I made a mistake. I mistakenly got a little harsh publically and it was a very bad decision.
I realized that my subordinate was a loyal employee. Later on, I tried my level best to make him realize that as he was going against the core values of the organization, I couldn’t stop myself. But after that incident I couldn’t find him as loyal as it he has been earlier. Now it will take time to reset the situation.
So instead of treating employees negatively, you should rather find better ways to do constructive criticism.
Empowering your employees makes them feel authoritative which leads to value, trust, and a sense of responsibility.
If you have allowed your employees to take small decisions without their boss’s confirmation, it makes them feel empowered that ultimately leads to loyalty.
Say, you can permit your sales officer that he can sell something at a 2% discount whenever needed. They will feel empowered. (This example is only helpful in some scenarios, not every time.)
You might also notice that they DO NOT offer that 2% discount to everyone. They will fantasize about it, make it even more special, and offer that discount to their very own fellows to prove their empowerment.
Some companies allow their employees to spend up to a few hundred dollars to solve clients’ problems.
There must be many other things belonging to your startup or company that you can allow your employee to empower.
Kane (a leading researcher in the science of loyalty) said that trust is one of the most-effective tools to make employees, and clients loyal.
If you can’t build trust, you won’t win hearts.
There is no shortcut to building trust. The only way I have learned from researchers and consultants is to trust them and value them.
When you truly trust your employees, they are more likely to be loyal. No one likes to break the trust. There could be many logical reasons but after all, it hurts their self-esteem.
When you trust an employee, you believe that he is a responsible guy, he does his work properly, and he must be putting all his energies to make things happen. You make them realize that you trust them. You are happy with their efforts.
All this makes them loyal to your business.
This might temporarily sound difficult but it should be a part of managers’ and leaders’ roles.
Money plays a huge role
Money is the most essential ingredient of life. We all work for money. At least in the earlier days, we work hard because we want to improve our lives. We don’t want to live an ordinary life.
And nothing wrong with it. I appreciate that from the bottom of my heart. It’s how we differentiate and challenge ourselves. It’s how we prove ourselves.
But what if our efforts are not bringing the right results? We might lose heart.
It’s said that poverty can convince you to sell your faith.
So fame, recognition, and value, all are secondary things. Money is the most powerful tool to keep employees loyal.
So you must pay them at least equal to the average of leading companies’ salaries.
In case, you have recently started your startup, and you can’t afford to offer handsome salaries. The best way is to be transparent to the employees.
Tell them the truth, and make them sure that you understand their issues, and you will reconsider your offers in the following quarters.
Like the founder of Ali Baba, Jack Ma did in the very early days. He became transparent and told the employees that he understands everything and will take care of everyone in the upcoming days once he will start making something.
Truth has its powers. If you were loyal to the employees, most of them will compromise on the low salaries.
Work on their personal growth
Tony Robbins once said in his book, that happiness comes with growth.
If you keep working on the personal growth of your employees, you are updating them to the next levels. This will more likely make them stay longer. They will realize that they are building their self-worth while staying here.
Over time, they will realize that you have invested in them. And it makes them loyal.
One of my employees said that she is more likely to work with me because she is learning many things every day.
It’s true that all of our struggles are to make them do their best and quickly, this way we make them practically more useful and valued.
In short, we sharpen their saw.
It might sound costly to work on it but it won’t be as expensive as you think.
If your managers (practically always) know about employees’ work, they can train them and push them to the next levels over time.
Secondly, there are many inexpensive short pieces of training, courses, and relevant books you can offer them.
All this will upgrade their minds.
Keep them engaged
As we have discussed in valuing your employees, if a sweeper understands that his work has a direct influence on all the employees, and it’s scientifically proven, he will get more engaged with the work.
We all want to do valuable things.
The only problem sometimes can be a lack of support. If you offer them important tasks and don’t give support, it won’t work.
Gives them support, and freedom to be creative and innovative.
Say, one of my best friends who is a BD manager told me that he uses many creative ways to reach out the clients. He even learns and explores the Ads to see how they are creating engaging ads. So he uses the same techniques in his emails to pitch and convert clients.
It’s what he was proud of.
Listen to them
In the case of employees and customers, listening is the only tool that can help you improve your business. So listening is the key.
But listening not only assists you to improve your business and services but also builds trust and loyalty. People believe that someone cares about them. They mean to the business.
It also helps you understand why (sometimes) an employee isn’t as productive as he has been earlier. What are the difficulties your employees are facing, and what do they think you can do to solve the issues?
Sometimes their issues are too little but it means to them.
For instance, if you don’t regulate payroll, it can create trouble for the employees who live paycheck to paycheck. In the last days, employees might focus more on when they shall receive their salaries this month instead of being productive.
Secondly, once they will get a chance they will move on.
It’s just one case, if you listen to them, and value their thoughts and opinions, it will more likely make employees loyal.
Focus on the culture
Everything influences all other things.
That’s why we always create values and obey them in the culture.
Your culture is an integral part of employees’ work. It’s how you are building their behaviors: positively and negatively.
If a manager is not following the values but forces the employees to obey the rules, it’s not going to work. It will mislead employees, and create distrust.
So you should make sure that the culture has some set of rules that work equally for all of the employees. The rules should be employee-centered.
Transparency makes employees loyal more
As I had mentioned earlier, you can’t put all the eggs in one basket every time. What you can do in that case?
Transparency is the best tool to make employees loyal when you can’t fulfill all their demands.
You should make them believe that you are loyal to them, but you have some restrictions.
For instance, there are some values and rules. You can’t go beyond them.
In business, everything follows a process, and their demands will also be encouraged according to the process. Make them believe that they should trust the process because it’s the process that runs institutions. If you cross the borders it will hurt the business growth.
If you were loyal to them, this way you can satisfy them logically. Even when you can’t fulfill all their demands they will still be loyal to your business.