Loyal employees are happier employees.
Unfortunately, most employees aren't loyal.
Those are two good reasons for developing loyalty skills. A comprehensive study unearths the upside and downside of employee loyalty, and yields suggestions for how to develop it.
The Ipsos Loyalty Study finds that employees with the highest levels of loyalty to their jobs also characterizes themselves as happiest. At the same time, the study finds, only about 30% of employees feel loyal to their employers or feel that employers have earned their loyalty.
So what does it mean to be a loyal worker? Timothy Keiningham, Ipsos Loyalty's global chief strategy officer and executive vice president, identifies five loyalty skills and offers ways to improve proficiency in each one:
Support/assistance. Give co-workers a hand in the form of technical help, brainstorming, expertise and sharing contacts. Help a peer do a better job, struggle less, learn a new skill, impress the boss or gain new respect with clients and co-workers.
Time/attention. Ask questions, listen well and take the time to pay attention to co-workers' concerns. Show empathy and demonstrate that you understand their issues and really "get" their point of view.
Recognition/encouragement. Give sincere compliments to co-workers when they've done an excellent job on a task or when they demonstrate superior skills, say, while leading a meeting or giving a presentation. Instead of being withholding or competitive, employees should show fellow employees that they're cheering them on.
Self-sacrifice/commitment. Offer to stay late, do a hated task or stand up for a co-worker's unpopular viewpoint in a controversial workplace debate. Employees should show colleagues that they are willing to put themselves out for others.
Reliability/trust. Employees should follow through on what they say they'll do, and be people whom others can count on - to confide in, to lean on or to be there in a pinch. Be consistent, competent and the go-to person when required.
In the every-man-for-himself work environment, developing more loyalty toward co-workers will give employees a new sense of fulfillment and meaning in their job. When others view a co-worker as loyal, they will return these qualities and gestures in kind - and the quality of workplace relationships will soar.