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Guest Commentary: Has Loyalty In Business Left The Building?

Loyalty is a value-add – to both customers and employees – and should be ingrained in the company’s value proposition and mission statement. Loyalty is a competitive advantage.

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John Passante is a broad-based senior executive with over 30 years of extensive organizational development and senior human resource experience with progressive corporations involved in multiple locations, both domestic and international.

As we embark on a new year, permit me to inquire, is loyalty in business a thing of the past?

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Loyalty is the rock that holds business relations together. It means being drawn to a vision, a cause, mission, value, belief or company and of course, a leader.

The tenets of all relationships are:

  • Keep your word
  • Doing what you say you are going to do
  • Respect – always
  • Creating mutually beneficial relationships
  • Remembering we are in this together

Since the beginning of time, humans have placed loyalty as one of the most cherished and treasured values in human relationships. But in today’s highly competitive workplace, I fear that loyalty may become a lost art. Our industry was founded on work ethic, pragmatism, creativity and yes, loyalty. In essence, it’s about trust.

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We demonstrate loyalty by:

  • Being true to ourselves
  • Being transparent
  • Sharing our thoughts and feelings
  • It means never deceiving others
  • Staying the course – in good times and in bad times
  • It is a strong assurance of another person
  • Being supportive
  • It is having integrity
  • It is a positive emotional experience

Loyalty is a value-add – to both customers and employees – and should be ingrained in the company’s value proposition and mission statement. Loyalty is a competitive advantage. It is a devotion to your customers, employees and brand. Loyal customers and employees tend to defend your company and brand, and share its virtues with friends and peers. It is a key business strategy to retain employees and customers, to drive growth and customer insights.

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Loyalty is a true human connection that transcends technology. It is not a soft concept to value a true sense of appreciation over entitlement. Remember, your competitors are just a click away. Loyalty creates an unforgettable customer experience, and as customers (and employees) we all seek to feel being listened to and taken care of.

Is loyalty a key element of what your company stands for?

Creating a true spirit and sense of “loyalty” is why employees and customers “stick” with you. According to workplace expert, Lynda Gratton, “Loyalty is about the future; trust is about the present.” One of the key factors of loyalty is provoking challenging work, giving employees creative leeway and recognition. The challenge is to strive to keep employees engaged, fulfilled and truly involved.

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Employee engagement is a form of loyalty, because employees commit to work with purpose, passion and enthusiasm. Loyalty is providing employees with a sense of mission, and the opportunity to contribute and to share in the success. It permits and encourages new thoughts to emerge and thrive in a marketplace of ideas. Honest dissent is valued.

Employees today want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to fully engage in relevant tasks, which is loyalty in today’s modern business world. When we share our loyalty, it is good for others. Who in turn will be loyal to us, however, is not unconditional.

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The plan to instill loyalty in your organization starts with:

  • Hiring individuals that share your values and sense of mission
  • Paint a clear career path picture
  • Give employees the freedom to succeed
  • Loyalty is fluted and inspired by paying attention to employees and giving them flexibility

Lifetime employment with one company is no longer the norm (which I must admit, saddens me). To retain talent requires building mutually beneficial relationships with employees and to think long-term with them. Employees seek purpose and a source of identity. These employees are more likely to contribute more and to stay in the organization.

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The employee of today views work as a true partnership, which in fact is the cornerstone of loyalty.

Loyalty means standing for something. Always remember, people count! (They are not just a number on a report.) We all have the desire to belong. Awaken that desire in your organization.

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