Mentoring, Coach, Coaching

C Suite Mentor’s Humor – Employee Loyalty? My F@#T ! April 27, 2014 13 1 Liker0 Comments inShare 2 I followed a convention, a family convention – I joined a Bank at 21. Slight departure from what my parents did – worked for the Government for life. So when I changed to a Sales role in a Public Sector company – I was a ‘Different guy’ in the family. So much so, a would be father in law commented – ‘ You do a thankless, unstable job’ and refused to marry his daughter with me :). So when I moved to a managerial career or when I decided to be an entrepreneur and failed at this and rejoined an MNC – it was Rebel behaviour because my family consisted of Loyal Servants to the Government ! I remember going to my B School for recruitment and asked the Respected Director who was my mentor that I’d like to recruit from a Part Time Management Course batch, someone with experience – someone very much like me – he flat refused and said – ‘We don’t produce any more Parkhe’s here !” I took that as compliment. Year was mid 90’s and the students were taught – ” First year will go in learning and Mastering the Trade and moving up. Second Year ( if you are still in the company) would be when you’re at peak of your performance and growing – may be bypassing and climbing 2-3 ladders at the same time. Third year ( And, if you are REALLY with the same company ) it is because at 30-34 you are on the ‘Fast Track’ and ‘On List’ to be the MD/CEO and sure enough, you are not bored – otherwise it is time to quit. Forget Loyalty of the MBAs. The scenario changed to ever better ( or worse !) in the early 21st Century when being in the company for 12-18 months was looked down by your Peer Group :). Do you remember ? Changing Horizon of HR is quite interesting and intriguing. I was reading few HR profiles recently which described themselves as: “Talent Sustainability; OnBoarding, Engagement, Bench Strength, and Learning Systems”. Quite a transformation, I must say from HR of 20 years ago ! With this state of affairs for Fresh MBAs and their learning from B Schools How important, then is Employee Loyalty in current times? I remember a friend of my uncle ( Dr. Amul Desai) who was once a Finance Minister of Gujrat said to me in 1979 said to me that he left the Grand Old Party because the Leader demanded Personal Loyalty from him which he refused. Joined hands with Rebels and formed the First Non-Congress Government in the State of Gujrat. Here is what he said “In my Politics of today: Loyalty to Ideals comes First, Loyalty to Institution comes Next and Loyalty to Individuals comes Last”. Alas ! Politics of today has reversed the order of Priorities today. The Contemporary political parties believe in Loyalty to Individuals and Dynasties First and have no place for the Ideals. But that apart.. If loyalty is defined as being faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution or product, then there seems to be a certain amount of infidelity in the workplace these days. What are the contemporary indicators of the so called ‘Infidelity in the Workplace’ : A. Employee Attrition Indicators: One in three employees, the survey says, plans to leave his or her job by the end of the year. 76% of full-time workers, while not actively looking for a new job, would leave their current workplace if the right opportunity came along. the average company loses anywhere from 20% to 50% of its employee base. B. Employee Aspirations and Dissatisfaction: employees are clearly feeling disconnected from their work. during the recession, companies laid off huge swaths of their employees with little regard for loyalty or length of service a whittling away of benefits, training and promotions for those who remain a generation of young millennials (ages 15 to 30) who have a different set of expectations about their careers, including the need to “be their own brand,” wherever it takes them. One of the casualties is a decreasing sense of commitment to the organization. C. Fair Treatment and Reciprocity : “When you are talking about loyalty in the workplace, you have to think about it as a reciprocal exchange,” “My loyalty to the firm is contingent on my firm’s loyalty to me. But there is one party in that exchange which has tremendously more power, and that is the firm.” Adam Cobb suggests that at a minimum, “loyalty is not something a company can rely on. But when people say that employees have no loyalty to their firms, you get into a chicken-and-egg kind of argument. Imagine a different world where firms took care of their employees, and loyalty was reciprocal Would employees be job hopping to the extent they are now?” Employee behavior, Cobb says, has been influenced by the dramatic organizational restructuring that began 30 years ago. “Firms have always laid off workers, but in the 1980s, you started to see healthy firms laying off workers, mainly for shareholder value.” In their announcements of pending staff cutbacks, “firms would say, ‘We are doing this in the long-term interest of our shareholders,’” Cobb notes. “You would also see cuts in employee benefits — 401(k)s instead of defined benefit pensions, and health care costs being pushed on to employees. The trend was toward having the risks be borne by workers instead of firms. If I’m an employee, that’s a signal to me that I’m not going to let firms control my career.” Peter Cappelli, director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources, agrees that these days, employers’ attitude toward their employees has changed. “They see them as short-term resources,” he says. And because employers have ended lifetime employment, adds Cappelli, author of the forthcoming book, Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It, “job security depends now on continuing usefulness to the employer. Cuts in pay and increasing workloads happen when it is useful to the organization. As employees see their careers operating across many employers, they no longer focus their attention solely on the ones” they work for now. Loyalty to Individuals, Not the Company The Loyalty Research Center, an Indianapolis-based consultant that focuses on customer and employee loyalty issues, defines loyalty in part as “employees being committed to the success of the organization and believing that working for this organization is their best option….. [Loyal employees] do not actively search for alternative employment and are not responsive to offers.” Cappelli says that “employee loyalty” is a “practitioner term. The closest analogy in research is with the concept of commitment, [the idea] that employees are looking after the interests of their employer.” Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwell divides the term into two parts: “One piece is having the employer’s best interests at heart. The other piece is remaining with the same employer rather than moving on.”Management experts, he says, describe this as “organizational commitment.” And that, he notes, is changing. “There is less a sense that your organization is going to look after you in the way that it used to — which would lead you to expect a reduction in loyalty as well.” But Bidwell questions how much loyalty people ever felt to their organizations, in good times or bad. “Employees are often more loyal to those around them — their manager, their colleagues, maybe their clients. These employees have a sense of professionalism — and loyalty — that relates to the work they do more than to the company.” Some of Bidwell’s research has focused on comparing independent contractors to full-time employees. One would typically expect these independent contractors to have an “arm’s length, less-committed relationship” with company managers compared to the commitment level of full-time staff, he says. “But when I talk to managers, they often suggest that there really isn’t much difference between the contractors and the company employees.” Relationships with organizations are getting weaker, he notes, which is “why some people believe that company loyalty is dead.” First things first: Where employees are concerned, loyalty has nothing to do with blind obedience, or unthinking devotion, or length of tenure. Surprised? Think ! Which employee/s display greater loyalty? 1. The employee who has been with you for ten years and in that time has learned to do just enough to fly, unseen, under the performance issues radar, or 2. The employee who has been with you for 18 months and believes in where you’re going, how you want to get there – and proves it every day by her actions Of course experience is important, but given the choice I’ll take the employee behind door #2 every time. Truly loyal employees are not just committed to helping their companies succeed; their loyalty is also displayed in other ways, some of them surprising. 1. They display loyalty through integrity. 2. They generate discussions others will not. 3. They praise their peers. 4. They dissent and disagree 5. They support in public. 6. They tell you what you least want to hear. 7. They leave when they need to leave. If you can’t tell by now, a truly loyal employee is almost always a sensational employee. Often, they’re your best employees – so the last thing you want is for them to leave. Yet sometimes they do: For a different lifestyle, for a better opportunity, for a chance to move to a different industry, or simply to take what they’ve learned and start their own company. When it’s time, they tell you it’s time to leave – and they help you prepare to fill the hole they create. You? You’re disappointed but you wish them well. For a time, even if only for a few years, they put your company’s interests ahead of their own… …and now it’s your turn to do the same for them. Of course, you can always make your most convincing arguments to encourage them to stay (hey, you’re loyal too!) – but if it doesn’t work out, the right thing to do is to return their loyalty, wish them well and help them continue to stay awesome. Thank you for being patient and reading. Look forward to your Feedforward. Read my weblog : C Suite Mentors