A loyal workforce

Imagine a world where you look forward to going to work every day and enjoy the camaraderie shared with associates.

By Samineh I. Shaheem (Out of Mind)

Published: Sat 29 Mar 2014, 9:53 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:57 PM

A creative place where your efforts are recognised and you can rely on your employers for guidance, mentorship and support. While this may be a reality for some of us, for others work is a place shrouded with insecurity, lack of confidence, cut-throat competition, back-biting and ambiguity.

A recent survey by Wall Street Journal found that nearly 70% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs and work environment. Lack of trust and loyalty was quite common with employees constantly anxious and looking over their shoulder which results in absenteeism, high stress levels and lowered productivity.

While this definitely signals bad news for employees, employers also lose out tremendously for not having a happy and satisfied work force. One of the key reasons for dissatisfaction is a lack of loyalty among employees. Allegiance and building of loyalty in the work place has been identified as one of the foremost requirements of strengthening the back bone of any organisation. A loyal workforce is a content one and this invariably results in improving performance and greater success.

High employee turnover can be quite damaging, especially since recruiting and replacing employees costs the company a staggering 150% of that employee’s annual wage. So, what can be done to encourage retention and loyalty to the company?

Here are a few general ideas:

> Give customised rewards and incentives

> Build employee engagement and work on intrinsically motivating staff

> Hire the right people

> Regular training and development

> Reciprocate loyalty. Employers also have a duty to show allegiance to those they employ. This can be done through respect, praised for their efforts and showing flexibility and understanding when employees experience difficulties.

> Develop a sense of pride and ownership

> Introduce a mentoring programme

> Pay attention to employees’ personal needs

> Lead in a fair and consistent manner

> Manage change effectively

> Ensure that all employees share the vision of the company

> Promote the concept of team work

> Be accountable and transparent and set an example that employees can follow

Psychologically, loyalty has its own rewards. Long-term commitment, whether it is to a work place or in a relationship, is linked with a deeper sense of satisfaction. Loyalty also enables the development of stronger social engagement as well as more support, which inevitably leads to more positive health and well-being.

Some of these include;

> Greater sense of life satisfaction

> Stronger social ties

> Lowered risk of diabetes

> Low risk of hypertension

> Low risk of heart attacks

> Increased motivation

> Better performance

> Feelings of achievement and success

> Lowered risk of depression

Studies have found that as an average adult spends a quarter or one third of their life working, satisfaction at the work place is positively correlated to general happiness and life satisfaction.

Financial benefits of loyalty should also be considered. Stanford Business School conducted a study of Silicone Valley employees and found that those who stayed with a company long-term had higher wages, regardless of their level of skill, compared to those who hopped from one job to another frequently.

The development of allegiance within the work place is beneficial for all, paving the path for success. However it can’t be achieved unless all relevant people make an effort to encourage long term connectivity. Therefore employers need to understand that developing loyalty is a shared task and one that requires effort from both employees and employers. Looking for the next best job may be advantageous in the short term but may back-fire in terms achieving career related satisfaction. Loyalty brings with it a sense of emotional connection and a happy and engaged work force is the best work force. As Samuel Goldwyn, a film producer, once said, “I’ll take fifty percent efficiency to get one hundred percent loyalty”.

Samineh I. Shaheem is an assistant professor of psychology, author, learning & development consultant and owner of Life Clubs UAE. She has studied and worked in different parts of the world, including the USA, Canada, UK, Netherlands, and now the UAE. She co hosts a radio program on 103.8 FM Dubai Eye (Psyched Sundays, Voices of Diversity 10-12pm) every Sunday morning discussing the most relevant psychological issues in our community. Twitter: @saminehshaheem/Facebook: Life Clubs UAE. Please forward your thoughts and suggestions for future articles to OutOfMindContact@gmail.com

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