In my opinion, loyalty is a word that is banded around frequently, often with little weight really attached to it. When you ‘google’ the word loyal, the definition is ‘giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution’. Commercially, we refer to loyal customers, people who regularly buy from a business and there are many tools to encourage this (reward points, loyalty schemes, 10th coffee free etc.)
When we look at loyalty within a business, we are typically looking at employees and how devoted they are to their employer (as per the definition). We do not often discuss the reverse of that relationship; i.e. the loyalty of an organisation to that individual. And maybe we should.
It was Aristotle who coined the phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” As a business owner, this is how I feel about our company. We are stronger together, bringing a portfolio of strengths, characters and ideas into the mix and each of those is as valuable in their contribution to how we show up in the world as the next. They demonstrate great loyalty to the business, acting as true ambassadors and even sharing when they are being headhunted by the competition!
Loyalty is not simply paying them more money, giving them a louder voice or promoting them. Loyalty is genuinely having their best interests at heart and ensuring that relationship is reciprocal. Understanding what is important to someone, how they want to be managed, respecting that they have exercised a choice to work with you and can change that at any time is what being loyal is all about. Does your business reward the loyalty of its employees?
We can only earn someone’s loyalty through our actions – they truly do speak louder than words.