Your team, as vital as it is, is a cost on the business. But costlier still is being unable to keep them. Failing to retain employees means that your recruit and training costs could skyrocket. That’s only one of the reasons that you want to make sure your team is a loyal one. Getting them engaged, invested in their work, and concerned with the direction of their colleagues and the business as a whole can only result in good things. Loyalty is important, so how do you make sure that you get it from them?
Too many businesses treat employees like they simply don’t know any better. They want to control their actions so they’re not making any mistakes. But by offering them more freedom, you could see people getting more comfortable at work and more productive because they have some say in how they do their job. Offering flexible working conditions and schedules is an easy way to immediately offer freedom. But you can also get them more engaged in just how they do their jobs by offering more autonomy on how they accomplish tasks. Not only that, but you are improving your chances that they will find ways to make the business better that you might not have otherwise seen.
You want people invested in their work. But have you asked how invested their work is in them? Are you using perks like the best small business 401k plans to show you care for their very basic future needs? Even if you can’t offer internal promotion, can you help them become more marketable by offering training and opportunities to try new skills? You also need to consider how you invest in their very real needs. Are you helping them not only understand the on-paper aims of the business but the values behind it that they can use to inform their work? Are you offering them the tools they could use to more effectively and efficiently do their jobs? Investing in the person and investing in the position is an investment in the business.
This is another side of the coin that is freedom. People have to be able to own up to their mistakes on their own. But they won’t do that if you’re all too happy to chew them out over their mistakes. Being a better leader means understanding your responsibility for all of them. The team’s failures are yours and their successes are everyone’s. Set the example and you will find people are far less afraid to take responsibility with you in regards to their personal failings. Otherwise, those failings build up a sense of paranoia, that they are always a step from being ejected, which will have them looking for other positions before that happens.
For people to be loyal, they need to be getting something on their side of the relationship. Unconditional devotion isn’t something you should expect or want. You want people to know that your business treats its team like people and respects its needs. It will create a better workplace, a better company image, and a better boss.