To nurture employee loyalty, entrepreneurs and business leaders need to meet modern workplace needs and enhance employee experiences.
The loyalty you receive from your employees is just as essential as the brand loyalty you hope to gain from your customers. Although it may seem difficult to measure true employee loyalty, a closer look at retention data and cause factors can give you greater insight into the effectiveness of your organization, the culture, and annual business growth.
Once you understand the needs of employees throughout your company, you must demonstrate your willingness to promote active change that addresses modern workplace challenges. I have found that encouraging ownership is a highly effective change.
For entrepreneurs and business leaders, focusing on strategies that have the greatest impact on employee loyalty and retention often improves collaboration and productivity. These four leadership practices may seem typical on the surface, but they should encourage you to consider unique approaches for fostering support and loyalty amongst your dedicated workers.
1. Prioritize Frequent Employee Recognition and Appreciation
Like many employees, I have held only a few positions with companies that consistently recognized the accomplishments of employees or demonstrated appreciation for their hard work.
It has often been commonplace for employers to put minimal effort into their recognition and appreciation programs. Whether it is offering free coffee, sending a generic thank you card, or offering a small raise. Those are the companies that have equally paid little attention to employee wellness and mental health. And, often, these are the same businesses complaining about a lack of employee engagement.
Only in recent years have I started to notice more leaders offering the recognition and appreciation employees have craved. This has included receiving a gift card for my favorite local restaurant or a full-day spa package with PTO. I have also particularly found that personalized gifts go a long way. Companies who understand the importance of specialty gifts and have a dedicated “corporate gift section”, such as Spoonful of Comfort, often excel at showing employee appreciation.
Additionally, if leaders can work with companies that focus on specific types of goods, such as Onyx Coffee Lab, they are likely to show genuine gratitude to employees by giving according to their niche interests. However, it’s also important to confirm the gift you choose is appropriate for the person you’re giving it to.
Taking the time to send a small treat can create a lasting impact in making employees feel recognized and valued. The difference has not simply been in leaders taking action, it is the fact that employee needs are listened to and turned into meaningful initiatives.
2. Invest in Career Development Programs
It makes sense that not every company has the resources to provide extensive career development programs. However, whether you are a successful entrepreneur or small business leader, supporting the career development of employees is essential. It is not the size of the program that matters, it is the quality and dedication you can provide that delivers greater retention.
You know that growth-minded employees have the desire to work hard and gain experience, but they also crave additional knowledge and the ability to embrace change throughout their careers. As a leader, the sky’s the limit when it comes to launching a career development program for your employees — so don’t be afraid to get creative!
3. Offer Flexible and Remote-Friendly Workplaces
We have seen a tremendous shift in workplace culture as it relates to business leaders providing flexible and remote-friendly workplaces. As someone that has worked remotely for years before the pandemic, it was intriguing to see how dramatically these changes took place and the stretch of opinions to match.
I am sure that as a business leader, you have experienced your own challenges when it comes to managing and supporting employees in an evolving work environment. Along with creating a positive, all-inclusive work environment, you have likely prioritized providing the tools they need and creating avenues for communication.
But the key to providing a remote-friendly workspace that fosters support and loyalty is also to remove uncertainty during times of economic instability and to take a human-centric approach when considering the company culture.
4. Improve the Hiring and Onboarding Experience
As an employer, you want to make a great first impression when hiring long-term, productive workers who will positively impact your bottom line. During the hiring and onboarding process, this should include communicating your compensation and benefits plan. Ideally, you’ll want to ensure this fits their health and wellness needs.
You can support new hire growth by providing mentorship opportunities led by existing employees, keeping lines of communication open, and giving direction through genuine and constructive feedback. If you feel like you need more support and structure to connect employees with quality mentorship opportunities, many companies have found software platforms to be beneficial. Using tech to foster connections between employees can simplify the process.
Employee loyalty is about creating a passion-led environment that supports hard work, commitment, and positive engagement. More than that, it means supporting the growth of employees so they can thrive and create a better work environment for everyone. Consider the needs of your employees and the unique leadership actions you can take to foster loyalty.