Ah those halcyon days when employees were loyal to their employers and employers were loyal to their employees. The days when we could measure the loyalty of our employees by their tenure are long gone. No longer do our employees choose to stay with us for their entire careers and rarely are we required to organise a suitable retirement gift after a stellar 40 years of service.
In a recent post, Stop Measuring Employee Loyalty by Tenure, Lee Caraher believes it is time to start thinking differently about how we measure employee engagement. She also advocates that we create an environment that recognises that our employees will only stay with us for a short period and we must maximise the benefits to both parties over that period.
The article suggests that leaders need to develop a new mindset that is focused on creating employee loyalty well beyond the time they are employed within our organisations. Leaders should be looking to create an environment where employees are valued and remain loyal to the organisation well beyond the tenure of the current employment contract.
The author refers to this type of environment as a ‘Boomerang Culture’ which is characterised by:
- Making the most out of an employee’s time in your organisation (rather than worrying about when they are going to leave).
- A recognition that employees are looking for a range of different opportunities that may not be available in your organisation.
- Continuing your relationship with your employees after they leave to keep them informed and attached to your organisation (they become advocates in the wider market).
- Creating a culture where current and former employees feel connected resulting in people wanting to remain with your organisation.
While creating a so called ‘Boomerang Culture’ sounds exciting, Caraher believes there are a number of behaviours we need to apply if we are to create this type of environment. These behaviours are:
- Stop raising salaries when people tell you they are leaving. Your other employees will know what has happened and this can only create a negative culture where threatening to leave becomes a legitimate negotiation tactic.
- Find ways to stay in touch with former employees and show genuine interest in their progress in their new positons.
- Put resources into developing your leaders so they can in turn develop their people. People who feel valued are likely to be more loyal and will work hard to make things happen.
- Set up an organisational alumni through Facebook, LinkedIn or some other medium to ensure people can stay in touch with your organisation and each other.
- Promote the skills of your past and present staff to all and sundry. Be proud of what you have collectively created and promote it through your alumni and other forums.
We all know that if we create a workplace that is positive, encouraging and supportive, we will achieve better outcomes for both our employees and our organisations. So think about creating an environment that enables your employees (both past and present) to remain loyal to your organisation.