Boomer Think Tank: Employer / Employee Loyalty Today

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On our Think Tanks this month we are tackling employer/employee loyalty; we’re looking at the topic from each generation’s viewpoint in order to understand how loyalty and how we measure it has been transformed along with the changing workplace.

This past week it was our Boomer Think Tank’s turn to weigh in. Before I give you the overall insights, here are a few relevant statistics to be aware of…

According to a recent CareerBuilder/USA Today survey:

  • 56% of HR managers are worried that their top talent will leave for another job within the year.
  • 75% of people who willingly leave their jobs don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses
  • The presence of a corporate incentive program motivated 66% of employees to stay at their job.
  • 41% of customers are loyal to a brand or company because they consistently notice a positive employee attitude
  • 68% of customers defect from a brand or company because of negative employee attitude
  • A 5% increase in employee retention can generate a 25% to 85% increase in profitability

Our panelists this week included:

  • Bev Lesnick – coffee house owner, investee, and single mother of two
  • Joseph Grier – LearnGrow llc and long-time Californian environmentalist
  • Jim Washington – father, general manager
  • Amy McCloskey Tobin – mother, VP Content and Strategy at ArCompany


Primary Insights

We are Family:

All of our Boomers agreed that the environment that made them the most loyal to the company had a familial feeling to it. Joseph described his relationship with his boss as almost a surrogate father. Jim described the place as “a great communal place, you knew everyone by name or face.” This also means showing appreciation to employees, such as a loyalty plan or employee benefits.

“I would have stayed there forever just based on the benefits, the people that I worked with, but I quit my job to start my own business…I would have stayed until I retired otherwise!” ~ Bev

Managers Who Care

A manager who cares actively enhances employee loyalty. Our Boomers describe this kind of manager as:

  • Hands on
  • Step by step growth
  • Caring about people not just results
  • Follows the social contract of reciprocal respect

However, when management doesn’t care, our Boomers put one foot out the door and wait for the opportunity for the other to follow. Hoseph describes these workplace as “where dreams go to die.” Indicators of dream-killer workplaces are:

  • Removal milestone benefits (i.e. 5 years with a company)
  • Making it clear that results, i.e. the bottom line, is the only goal and everything else is collateral
  • Managers are nwilling to get to know their employees
  • Queen Bee versus Worker Bee mentality
  • Mailing it in themselves

A prime example of that is this quote, spoken to Amy by a former boss after a couple of months in his role replacing the former President:

“Stop working so hard, you’re making the rest of us look bad.”

How to Foster Familial Ties in Your Team

Creating close ties within your team comes back to creating a sense of family, appreciation, and respect. Do this by:

  • Not asking your staff to do something you wouldn’t do yourself
  • Being hands on
  • Know how every job operates
  • Have a open door policy
  • Share perspectives and experiences
  • Put respect at the core of the relationship

With startups, trust is much harder to build.  Amy said it best:

“I’ve seen hearts and friendships broken as you are working on a promise. Entrepreneurs work like no else has to so that they can live like no one else can.”

As startups have a short timeframe to “make it” before their funding runs out, respect and communication becomes key in creating trust, and it is much more difficult to build as everyone is under a tremendous amount of pressure.


What is key to creating a Loyal Team?

 This was my final question to our Boomers, ande their answers were immediate and to the point:

  • Solid communication
  • A general understanding of roles and responsibilities
  • An agreed social contract
  • Engagement leads to loyalty
  • Nonverbal demonstrations of respect

All of our Boomers have had bad managers who did not foster employee loyalty. It may take you 15 years to understand how to cultivate loyalty. In fact, it will always be a learning process. However, if they had known these things when they started out, it would have made their workplaces more enjoyable and productive.

You can listen to the podcast or view the hangout in its entirety:

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