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Five Ingredients for Loyalty

Do you think your employees are happy? Consider these findings from a recent survey of 700 workers at 70 firms:

  • 54% said management decisions aren’t explained well.
  • 61% reported they aren’t well-informed about organizational plans.
  • 64% admit they just don’t believe the information that management dishes out.

So if you see signs that your staff’s disgruntled, regain their loyalty with these five key elements:

  • Research. Before you can act, you need to know what employees are thinking. But don’t just dabble. Go at it full blast with internal opinion surveys, focus groups and both quantitative and qualitative analysis.
  • Candor. This is so simple that it sounds, well, simple: Tell the truth. What to do: Give employees the "un-facts"—unvarnished and uncensored. The second part: Tell it in person. Don’t hide behind e-mail, voice mail or memos.
  • Answers. Employees grow uneasy when they know what’s going on but don’t know why. Questions that start with "Why" are the toughest to answer. But you won’t get them back on your side unless you candidly answer questions such as: "Why are we doing this?" "Why are we doing it now?" "Why have we decided this is the best choice?"
  • Respect. Studies over the past 60 years have regularly shown that employees covet respect almost as much as money—and sometimes they even rate respect higher than cash. These consistent results should be more than enough to make this point: You’ll breed loyalty if you respect employees as individuals and recognize them for what they contribute to the organization. Short version: Treat them as partners not hired hands.
  • Leadership. Leaders who earn employee loyalty need vision, courage and character. That means you need to make the organization’s direction—the vision—clear. And reinforce that vision with your words and actions. Muster the courage to tackle tough decisions without delay.

Remember: All great leaders sincerely care about those they lead.

~ Source:  Steve Rivkin, president, Rivkin & Associates Inc., Glen Rock, NJ, writing in The Public Relations Strategist, Public Relations Society of America, New York.