BizSmart: Building Employee Loyalty Important for Firm's Success


Columbus Dispatch
CONTACT: Jeff an Marc Slutsky
Street Fighter, Inc.
Web Address:

BizSmart: Building Employee Loyalty Important for Firm's Success

Columbus, OH, April 10, 2001
In business, you need a combination of speed, acumen and agility to succeed in what has become a rapidly shifting and highly competitive marketplace, says C. Britt Beemer, founder of America's Research Group and author of It Takes a Prophet to Make a Profit, written with Robert L. Shook.

For your business to thrive, you must not only adapt to but also anticipate powerful forces that are reshaping the marketplace. Shook and Beemer identify a number of major trends and explain why they're influencing consumers and how they're affecting business. One key trend is the evaporation of company loyalty by today's worker.

According to a survey of 1,004 U.S. workers conducted by Beemer, there are four things you must do to instill loyalty among employees. In order of importance, they are:

  • Give raises. When in doubt, pay on the high side. Chances are you'll get your money's worth. Having a reputation as an employer paying the best wages is good. It's also good business. Raises should be tied to performance. One way to accomplish this is to pay a base salary with a year-end bonus to those who performed exceptionally well. To be effective, a compensation incentive must be executed carefully.
  • Give special recognition. Everybody likes recognition, so acknowledge people when they perform well. People respond to praise, so pour it on when it's deserved. This can range from a simple pat on the back to a banquet. Feature employees in your company newsletter and give awards at company events. Public praise is an outstanding way to let people know you appreciate them.
  • Say thank you. Unfortunately, many business owners and managers don't thank their people enough. It's the cheapest way to let your people know you value their contribution.
  • Give promotions. When your people deserve a promotion, give it to them. High achievers yearn for advancement.

Several companies also hand out other perks to build company loyalty and decrease turnover. Shook and Beemer cite several examples from Fortune magazine about some of the top companies for which to work:

  • MBNA: when a child is born or adopted, the company contributes $2,500 toward the child's education.
  • Honda of America Manufacturing: Every new employee has a tree planted in his/her honor on company grounds.
  • Capital One: Vacation days are available on a half-hour notice.
  • Eli Lilly: All Lilly drugs (including Prozac) are free.
  • Pfizer: All Pfizer drugs (including Viagra) are free.

Though many of these policies might not work for a smaller business, most have something in common: they are relatively small or inexpensive.

Brainstorm with employees to come up with inexpensive policies that will work within your business and help build employee loyalty.

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