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Employee turnover is a big problem. It’s not just that your teams must deal with loss of human resources, forcing them to do double or triple up on workload. Employee turnover also costs a lot of money — about $1 trillion. Employee replacement cost for one worker is equivalent to half to twice that employee’s annual salary.

What’s the solution to keep good talent in your organization? Is it higher salaries? Fewer tasks? One concept may do more than simply raising your employees’ wages. And that’s building employee loyalty.

Why is employee loyalty important?

When employees are invested in what they’re doing and believe in why they do it, they’re more likely to deliver better output. Better output could mean well-developed projects done on time, high-quality service for customers and any task relevant to your business operations. 

Loyal employees are productive, have a positive perspective about their jobs even amid challenges and they drive business results. From greater profitability to increased customers, the benefits of employee loyalty lift your business.

But here’s the thing: you must earn it, much like respect. That your company has given the employee a job is not reason enough to entitle you to loyalty. You must develop it and nurture it.

How to earn and nurture employee loyalty

On the surface, it makes sense to offer your workers more money to retain them; to keep them from jumping to the competitor’s side. Unfortunately, not all employees are swayed by higher salaries and even better benefits. Millennials, for example, prefer a positive social workplace over more money.

So earning employee loyalty isn’t as simple as “more money.”

Try the following approaches:

Work with the employee to map out their goals

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Employees today need more than just a paycheck; they need to know their heading in a direction they desire. So it’s critical for leadership, from supervisors to managers, to work with the employee to understand and map out a journey to their goals and objectives. 

The roadmap communicates or visualizes the roles, responsibilities of and expectations from the employee. It allows the manager or supervisor to provide effective feedback and guidance that tells employees how their going to be supported and what value they deliver to the organization.

Provide the employee with necessary tools and resources to succeed

Every employee needs support, even the high performers. No matter what industry you’re in, investment in training and development is crucial. It tells employees you value their progress in the organization, and that you’re committed to their success. 

Celebrate achievements — even the minor ones

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Appreciation is appreciated. When companies celebrate the wins of employees, they communicate the value of contributions — however small. If a customer service interaction, a proactive step during a project creates a positive impact, show appreciation. The same goes milestones in the employee’s time in your company. It could be a work anniversary or a promotion. 

Listen to concerns

Not every moment is going to be positive in the employee’s journey. Some barriers may come up, and if those barriers aren’t addressed, you may be reading more resignation letters. 

So create a system that allows workers to voice their concerns with people who can do something about those concerns. Never just set up a protocol for the sake of hearing employee issues; the goal is to listen to those concerns with an open mind and an intent to resolve the valid ones. You could do this through regular check ins or implement an open-door policy.

Identify toxic employees

Management lapses is one of the biggest reasons for employees leaving. “Employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.”  When a talented worker hands in their resignation, see if the decision is still negotiable by talking about their reason. Typically, it’s about a bad manager.

Bad managers can be as simple as those not having enough time to support their team members to as toxic as those actively making the workplace impossible to be in. Whatever the reason, investigate and resolve it before that toxic senior leader costs you more employees.

Maintain transparency within the organization

Workers value the integrity of a business in a similar way as consumers prefer to do business with an honest company. And that means creating a transparent culture.

Transparency creates trust and improves internal communications, both of which boost employee engagement and loyalty. But how do you do it?

Keep workers in the loop about relevant developments, changes and policies. If they’re included in the decision-making process, even better. If not, explain how and why you arrive at the decision that had to be made. Never just lay down the law. This way, if the changes affect customer interactions, your employees know how to address inquiries or complaints.

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