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Employee Loyalty - 14 October 2008

You’d never consider hiring an illiterate person to work as a journalist, a technophobe to work in IT, or a hypochondriac to work in a medical centre. Yet so many people get promoted to management positions without the one core characteristic that determines managerial success - a love of people. And therein rests one of the biggest causes of staff disloyalty: managers who don’t lead from the heart.

The same principle plays out in the harshest heartbreak of all – cheating. If we look at the top reasons why husbands cheat on their wives or vice versa, we’ll see that each one of these is also a major reason why employees cease being loyal to their bosses.

Lack of attention: Neglected partners are more likely to be unfaithful. Similarly, if you don’t spend enough time with your employees, whether it’s via coaching, caring, communicating, or consulting, they’ll feel unloved and the result will be a resignation.

Getting even: Some people cheat because they want revenge. To get loyalty, you first have to give it. The majority of staff turnover is precipitated by some kind of shock which acts as the last straw that finally causes an employee to just give up.

Unsatisfied needs: A partner can be swayed to stray if something essential is missing from the relationship, such as intimacy. As a manager, failure to identify and meet your employees’ needs, whatever they might be, will lead to disengagement which is a precursor to turnover.

Loss of interest: Infidelity can occur when the cheater is unhappy with changes in their partner, such as an altered physique or attitude. At work, if change occurs and you haven’t taken the time to get your employees’ buy-in, they’ll move on to an employer who bothers to make an effort.

Incorrect fit: Sometimes two people just aren’t meant to be together. Likewise, there are some employees who simply aren’t suited to be in your team. There’s a cultural incongruence which should have been picked up during your recruitment process.

I’m not defending cheaters. But what I am saying is that the more you understand the reasons why people cheat, the easier it is to create a relationship that’s less likely to end in a break-up. Ditto at work. The more you understand the real reasons why your employees resign, the less likely they’ll be to break away from your organisation.

 

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