Today’s job market is rich with talented candidates—some who are unemployed, and many who are “taken but looking.” That’s due to one simple fact: employees today have learned that they need to be ready to jump into a new opportunity.
The old fashioned concept of employee loyalty has been eroding for decades. Employees today have learned that they need to always look out for their best interests. Just look at the 2008 economic collapse—a fading but present memory of a time when layoffs were constant and no job was safe. The job market has improved significantly since that time, but most workers do not ignore the ongoing risks of “at will” employment. Things could change on a dime, and it’s always better to have an offer in your back pocket in case you need it.
To make matters worse, some companies still underpay their team members. They don’t offer valuable benefits, and they fail to invest in the long-term development and enrichment of their employees. As a result, many individuals in the United States workforce have learned that in the eyes of the companies they depend on, they’re entirely replaceable.
How’s that for inspiring loyalty?
Savvy employers tackle the challenge of employee loyalty with eyes wide open. They understand the tumultuous position their team members are in and evolve their business plan accordingly—while offering meaningful rewards that encourage longevity. With the right combination of planning and incentivizing, you can keep your employees satisfied, challenged, and growing within your organization.
Planning For a New Kind of Loyalty
First and foremost, employers need to be keenly aware of how new hires see their future with a company. Today’s college grads enter the workforce knowing that in order to maximize their potential earnings, they should explore new job offers at least every two years. To put this into perspective, based on data from the Pew Research Center, as of 2016, only 64.4% of millennials stayed with their jobs for longer than 13 months, while only 22% stayed longer than 5 years.
But don’t be fooled into thinking employee loyalty is a millennial issue—because they aren’t the only ones catching on to the two-year maxim. As an HR professional or department manager, you need to significantly reframe your idea of what an employee life cycle looks like. Without offering additional incentives, you have an average of two years to impress, inspire, and challenge each new hire. To buy additional time, you need to incentivize your employees and reward them as they excel in their jobs.
Take note of the language here: you’re earning loyalty from your employees. Your company earns their time, hard work, and dedication throughout each month they spend in your office.
It may seem counterintuitive to invest in benefits, training, and development for employees who may only participate in your company for 24 months. But the firms that manage to do it right end up keeping their best employees for five years or more, completely justifying that initial investment.
In the meantime, structure your business (and your budget) according to a standard two-year turnover and you’ll be prepared to weather the churn gracefully. You’ll also be prepped to enjoy the reward when your efforts pay off in the form of an employee’s longer stay with your company.
Employer loyalty is just as important as employee loyalty—and it most definitely has to come first.
How Your Company Can Increase Employee Loyalty
That said, there are three distinct ways you can influence employee loyalty at your company. Each occurs at a different stage in the employee lifecycle.
First, employees are encouraged to join your company (and rave about their new job) when they receive meaningful and competitive compensation. Second, they’re motivated in the ongoing months by an organizational culture that’s appreciative and respectful. And finally, they are inspired to stick around past what might be the end of their tenure by rewards and incentives that go above and beyond what’s expected.
Here’s how you can make that happen.
Provide Meaningful Compensation
If you’re constantly baffled by losing your best employees to your competitors, it’s time to seriously reconsider your compensation package.
Offering high-value benefits to your employees is crucial. Important employee benefits that are appreciated include quality healthcare, retirement contributions, flexible work hours, and generous PTO. All of these options help in communicating to each employee that you value their long term health and happiness. Combine these benefits with a clear path to career advancement within your organization, and you’re providing a solid potential future for each employee at your firm. Remember, however, that monetary incentives can only go so far; if you want employees to stick around for the long haul, you need to invest in long-term solutions that engage and motivate them on a day-to-day basis.
Create a Culture of Appreciation
The most important and often overlooked aspect of employee loyalty is organizational culture. No amount of flashy fringe benefits or pay raises will be able to mask a stressful work environment that lacks mutual respect. If this is your reality, you’ll see employees flocking to greener pastures after spending very little time at your company.
Start with your managerial staff, and make sure their leadership style is productive and appreciated by their direct reports. Aim to increase the amount of written and verbal recognition in your company by at least 50%, in both public and private settings. Establish a place and a practice for employees to recognize each other for a job well done.
Employees who feel respected and appreciated by their employers are far more likely to stick around. It’s time for your company to take this knowledge and create a culture that naturally nurtures employee loyalty throughout the years of their stay.
Offer Rewards and Incentives
Finally, this aspect of the employee experience might just be the tipping point for an individual considering a change after a year or two with your company. If you consistently offer meaningful rewards to all of your employees, not just the top 5% of high-achievers who receive that great vacation, they’ll be incentivized to stick around for even more long-term benefits. Establishing a positive company culture is all about fostering camaraderie and keeping employees motivated, regardless of their job level.
A high quality employee rewards program is the best and easiest way to engage your employees, reward their hard work, and incentivize them for years to come. In your company, this might look like:
- A custom set of ever-changing parameters for achievement and success for each role
- High-value rewards from name brand products employees love
- Seamless social media and mobile app integration to encourage participation
- Powerful visibility for top performers who inspire everyone around them to work harder
Incentive programs are powerful tools that you as an employer can use to reward employees, publicly recognize them for their hard work, and incentivize your entire team to strive toward even bigger goals. The best employee recognition programs have a significant impact on employee engagement within a company and have an impressive ROI to prove it.
If you’re looking to make an immediate change to impact employee loyalty at your company, a custom rewards or recognition program is a powerful option to consider.
The bottom line with loyalty is that employers should treat employees like valuable, contributing members of a team. This not only offers employees a sense of stability and motivation but represents a unique framework that respects employees while protecting employers from untimely turnover. Furthermore, it allows both sides to plan more accurately for the future and come to work with an optimistic outlook.
With it, companies are inspired to offer the highest standard of loyalty to their teams, who will hopefully return the favor by sticking around. Long-term benefits (including rewards programs) are our preferred way to make the deal sweeter on all sides.
At Inproma, we’re passionate about crafting custom employee rewards programs that improve employee loyalty. We work with firms to recognize, incentivize, motivate, and reward all employees and keep them satisfied for years to come. Interested in seeing what a custom rewards program would look like at your company? Let’s talk.