Here are 5 behaviors for leaders and hiring managers to adopt when struggling to keep employees happy and loyal:
1) Tell the truth: Not everyone is a star. Pick out those with leadership or other valued talent potential and nurture them. This will come back to the business as these individuals, in turn, nurture other workers.
2) Communicate roles and responsibilities: Provide a path to success not only for those with leadership promise but for all employees. Sometimes this will mean difficult changes, but remember the most important skill of a leader: never surprise an employee with bad news. Have a development plan for all, and a get-well plan for those whose performance lags. Make sure everyone knows the plan.
3) Create a workplace culture that values real people relationships: For many employees, work group relationships and relationships between managers and workers drive engagement and loyalty more effectively than football machines, logo T-shirts, and Thirsty Thursday gatherings.
4) Be fair and open: This does not mean treat everyone equally – it means have transparent processes for managing and leading. Employees are more likely to respond positively to change when the process used to manage change is fair.
5) Model the behaviors you seek: Just as the headmaster at the high school did, accept your responsibility as a leader and act with engagement, commitment and responsibility. Do this every day.
Each of us possesses skills, strengths, talents and flaws. Each of us seeks to belong, to be engaged, to relate to those around us. Loyalty is built on relationships, shared understanding and trust. Engagement and commitment require loyalty, shared goals and fair treatment. Don’t take loyalty and engagement for granted – create a remarkable culture where there are possible and rewarding outcomes of the workplace.
We are only human after all – Every one of us. Every leader. Every brand. Every workplace. Every person.