Loyalty runs both ways

Sep 26 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Are you a loyal person? Being loyal can be a good, perhaps even smart, thing when it's to your spouse, your family, your friends, etc. But you might have noticed that there was one entity I left off the list. I really don't need to tell you whether or not you should be loyal to your employer, but think about the deal you're getting.

The findings of the Walker Loyalty Report for the Workplace were recently released, providing data about employee loyalty. By their measure, a loyal employee remains at an organization for at least two years.

According to the study, just a third of you are truly loyal employees – a pretty depressing statistic. In fact, according to the study, you just may be a "negative drain on the organization"; in other words, you're what they refer to as a "high-risk" employee.

If you're not in the loyal employee camp, you're part of the 38% that won't go the extra mile for your job, or the 40% that don't care about making the company successful. More tellingly, you're part of the 6% that would resist outside job offers.

But while some commentators have suggested that one shouldn't confuse loyalty with job satisfaction. I say, "why not?"

If you're not satisfied in your place of employment, obviously you're loyalty will be tested. Let's not create the false analogy that a "disloyal" employee is one who would steal from the company (hey, we've got executives for that) – rather, let's say that a disloyal employee is one who is likely the one who takes the first or best chance of escape!

While wanting good things for your company is important, it's also important for your company to do good things for you.

In the US, that means adequate health care, appropriate work conditions, and proper family/vacation policies that allow employees to remain healthy and happy. If employers want to see more loyalty, employers will have to speak more clearly and louder in a language that employees understand – wage increase and job securities.

That's not to say that most of us are purely motivated by financial gain – no more than most companies are at maintaining great financial solvency.

When you know that you can be let go with little reason, or are only earning a drop in the bucket of what you're helping to bring in, it's hard to talk about helping your company do even better. Even though you may be "lucky" to have a job, you're still helping the company to success. The check they give you is hardly a one-way act on their part. No matter how you slice it, you're not getting the big end of the deal.