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Employee retention isn’t the only way to keep costs down in the hiring process. Employee loyalty also plays a large role. Companies everywhere may be downsizing, outsourcing, and restructuring, and that puts top talent on the edge to find a Plan B in case it happens to them. But even in good economic times, employees are also looking for the next big thing. Whether the economy is contracting, booming, or stagnating, cultivating employee loyalty needs to be a priority.

Just because an employee has been at the job for a long time doesn’t mean that employee is loyal, nor is an employee who does everything her manager asks. Loyal employees are invested in the company and in their roles, regardless of how long they’ve been at the company or how amenable they are to management requests. They feel like their work means something and is important, and they believe in the company’s mission and vision. It shows in their everyday work, and sometimes they will challenge management when they feel their integrity or the company’s is at stake. Ultimately, though, these loyal employees go along with the decisions handed down because it is best for the company, and they support their co-workers and the company publicly. When it’s time to move on, loyal employees sever ties professionally and after careful consideration.

Creating this kind of loyalty means companies go through the hiring process much less often, and it’s easy to cultivate. Employee loyalty correlates to management, and managers who lead by example are already on their way to having loyal team members. If team members can trust and look up to management, they overall are more loyal to the entire company.

Loyalty is also fostered when employees are treated like team members whose contributions are valuable. It’s easy for managers, in the hustle and bustle of the business, to make decisions without consulting the team. It may make sense in the short term, but in the long term, employees want their opinions to count and want to feel like management values what they have to say. That gives them “skin in the game.”

Ultimately, building loyalty comes down to remembering that employees are human, and they enjoy routines. When management changes those routines, they naturally resist. The best way to keep that comfort level in place is to be honest, transparent, and ethical, as well as respect the employees and their personal lives. Fear and intimidation only goes so far, and it eventually drives talented employees out the door. It doesn’t matter what level the employee is. Whether it’s a great receptionist who always greets visitors and callers with a smile or a team member going above and beyond, all employees enjoy a culture that abides by the Golden Rule. Respect and honest go a long way toward fostering loyalty.

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