Strategic HR

How to Build a Workplace Culture Based on Loyalty

by Sandy Perlman, marketing director at LifeWorks

Despite the recent trends of HR professionals focusing on retention and employee engagement, a major issue still haunts workplace cultures everywhere—employee loyalty.

Loyalty

The American Management Association’s January 2015 survey found that 52% of the 1,200 managers surveyed say their employees are less loyal than they were 5 years prior. What’s more, the survey also found that declining loyalty is thought to harm companies by causing low morale, high turnover, disengagement, growing distrust, and lack of team spirit.

So how can employers turn the tides and earn their staff’s loyalty? It all starts with workplace culture.

Here are five ways you can build a workplace culture founded on loyalty:

Start a Recognition Plan

Everyone loves being noticed for their successes. But if you’re only calling employees out for their shortcomings, you’re pushing them away.

Start an employee recognition program to celebrate employee wins with fun rewards and perks. Better yet, make recognition a team effort. Peer-to-peer recognition can be one of the biggest motivators in the office. The 2014 TINYpulse Employee Engagement and Organizational Culture Report, which surveyed more than 200,000 employees, found that an employee’s peers are the number one reason they go the extra mile at work.

Teams build a strong rapport and a sense of camaraderie when they engage in a supportive environment that encourages recognition. Praise goes a long way, no matter who is offering it.

Loyalty builds over time. It’s not a quick fix, so set the expectations and establish the standards of creating a workplace that thrives on recognition. Weed out the gossipy types and help resolve any personal problems between coworkers.

Lead by example and show every employee the respect and praise they deserve. This can be as simple as a “thank you” note or publicly expressing gratitude in a meeting, or as substantial as cash prizes or extra paid time off. No matter the price tag, recognition goes a long way in creating a happy and loyal workforce.

Educate and Enable

Investing in your employees shows that you respect them as individuals who want to learn and grow. It’s these growth opportunities that motivate employees to do their best and stick with their employer. After all, a workplace culture that treats employees like people and prioritizes their growth naturally breeds loyalty. In fact, the 2014 Global Workforce Study by Towers Watson found that career advancement opportunities are among the top driving forces for employees, according to more than 32,000 respondents.

Engage your staff in continual learning, but make that education interesting. Boring training manuals and slideshows can kill motivation. Instead, offer interactive seminars, create games, and develop other fun, engaging methods of educating them. Employees stay where they can grow.

Invest in Well-Being

When employees take care of their health and well-being, they are better workers. Negative coping skills for stress—like eating unhealthy foods or drinking too much caffeine—may lead to weight gain, poor sleep, and eventually illness. This can then lead to more absences, lower productivity, and disengagement.

However, if they can better manage stress and live healthier lifestyles through eating right and exercising, they are more focused, energetic, and happier at work. And employers can help facilitate that lifestyle change.

Start a wellness plan and make it a part of your workplace culture. When you help employees improve their health through risk assessment, health coaching, online workshops, and fun exercise challenges, you show them that you see them as people, not just workers. And that inspires loyalty.

Pay Well and Offer Perks

While money isn’t everything, it’s certainly an important aspect to consider for both employees and employers. Offer competitive salaries and meaningful perks, like discounted legal consultation services or shopping rewards.

In addition to having a competitive take-home salary, workplace perks are another way to show employees how much they’re appreciated. And appreciated employees are loyal employees. When you take a step further and provide them with perks to help them with their lifestyle, they understand that you want what’s best for them both at home and in the office.

Design the Workplace Together

Workplace design has a big impact on the health and engagement of your staff. Make sure you involve them in creating an environment that embodies a happy, positive culture. When employees have a hand in creating their work environment, they are more invested in remaining loyal to the company and its vision.

Unfortunately, a gap exists in the workplace experience between leadership and employees. A 2016 Oxford Economics study found that 63% of executives think their employees have the tools needed to filter out distractions, whereas only 41% of employees think they have those tools.

Get involved and seek employee input in creating a workspace that’s productive and facilitates employee satisfaction. If they’re left buried with a large workload and can’t manage it with a lot of workplace distractions, they’re going to disengage and feel defeated.

Show them that you are on their side. Collaborate with them to create a workplace environment that helps them do their best and allows management to effectively lead. When you create a workplace culture and work environment together, you demonstrate a deep level of trust and respect. And from a healthy employer-employee relationship, loyalty is born.

How are you developing a workplace culture based on loyalty?

Sandy Perlman is the Marketing Director at LifeWorks, an EAP that takes a holistic approach to employee assistance and wellbeing with a robust offering of perks, recognition, rewards, and a communication platform. Follow LifeWorks on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.