Loyal Employees Make for Longtime Employees:
Why Employee Retention and Loyalty Are Key in the Age of the Disappearing Worker
by Dianne Durkin

The Employment Policy Foundation has noticed a startling trend - the disappearing worker. Based upon current patterns, there will be a shortfall of 35 million workers by the year 2030. With the first batch of baby boomers approaching their 60th birthdays - and retirement age - in 2006 and the Congressional Budget Office forecasting a 50 percent labor force growth slowdown in the next decade, it is easy to see why you and your organization can't afford to see any employees vanish out the exit door. Employee loyalty and retention is key to both productivity and profitability.

So why such a significantly shrinking workforce?

One of the most substantial factors is the number of baby boomers approaching retirement age. Those workers born between 1946 and 1964 number 76 million strong, representing one fourth of all Americans - and they are quickly reaching their 60s. Given this trend, each and every worker becomes an increasingly valuable asset to the strength, stability and success of any company. Organizations that count on the brains, skills and experience of its employees - and that means every organization - cannot afford to lose valuable workers. Every time a baby boomer leaves a company, tremendous expertise and knowledge walks out with them.

So how do you assure that the workers you need and value will stay in your employ? How do you win their loyalty? Ply them with perks? Offer hefty benefit packages? Send them on company junkets? The truth is that there are many valid reasons for boomers to defer retirement, but it is critical for employers to understand their needs in order to foster their continued loyalty and retention.

With the long-term forecast of jobs outnumbering employees, it is critical for businesses that want to survive to create and maintain a secure foundation of honor, trust and respect among employees. Loyalty is not something that can be imposed; just like a paycheck - or respect - it has to be earned. And it is management's job and responsibility to create an atmosphere in which employee loyalty can flourish.

What I call the Loyalty Factor is a comprehensive, integrated vision for managing your organization for greater growth and profitability. The Loyalty Factor is based on a deceptively simple formula, but it's one that we find many business leaders take for granted - or ignore entirely.

Employee loyalty drives customer loyalty,
which drives brand loyalty

So what engenders employee loyalty?

The real question is what makes any employee want to go to work in the morning? Money, obviously, is one motivation, but there are others that are equally as important. When we have a chance to be part of an organization and contribute to a mission that we believe in and care about, we tend to feel better about ourselves and about the time delegated to work. Job satisfaction is a significant building block to loyalty. Research show that a more satisfied employee is a better team player, more punctual, more productive and higher performing.

And what particular motivations will keep baby boomers at their desks? Boomers have always defined themselves through their careers and achieved identity through the work they perform. Both idealistic and individualistic, their first loyalty is - and always has been - to themselves and their own ideas of a better future.

What employees crave most - and what baby boomers, in particular, seek - is a relationship with a supervisor, and a team, who they can trust and who places trust in them. They are looking for colleagues who will listen to them, treat them fairly, and value their contributions to the company. They are looking for a corporate mission and company values they can believe in - and a corporate climate in which they are believed in, in return.

The old tools for rewarding employees - competitive wages, benefits, incentives - are still important. But more than ever, they are the price of getting an employee in the door - not keeping them there. Industry experts estimate that two thirds of all employee departures are voluntary. If you are not retaining and developing the people you have today, you are not going to be ready for the shortages of the future.

Current forecasts indicate a labor shortage is on the horizon, but smart managers can also see their way to a fix. Creating, nourishing and cherishing employee loyalty is the bedrock of the Loyalty Factor and the key to keeping the employees so valuable to your organization's future success.

Dianne Durkin is president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a training and management consulting firm based in Portsmouth, NH, and author of The Loyalty Advantage. Loyalty Factor increases corporate productivity and profitability by providing individually tailored programs that enhance employee, customer and brand loyalty. Please call 603-334-3401 or visit www.loyaltyfactor.com for more information.

The Loyalty Advantage:
Essential Steps to Energize Your Company, Your Customers, Your Brand

by Dianne Michonski Durkin

Many more articles in Motivation & Retention in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2005 by Dianne Durkin. All rights reserved.

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