What You Can Learn from Loyalists

Adapted from the book Finding Keepers: The Monster Guide to Hiring and Holding the World’s Best Employees by Steve Pogorzelski, Jesse Harriott, Ph.D., and Doug Hardy. Published January 2008 by McGraw-Hill.

Although most employees embrace the poised mindset, the 30 percent who describe themselves as loyalists have much to teach us about holding on to those poised workers. By understanding the attitudes of loyal workers, employers can develop strategies to retain the talent that exists within their company.

Employees naturally compare their workplace with others, past and potential, and if you are better by comparison, you can raise the emotional “barrier to exit” among your skilled workers. Monster’s study of loyal workers in 2006 uncovered several factors that are important to the A-level loyalists, which an employer can use to encourage top players to stay. Our key findings about the attitudes of loyalists toward their work, boss, company, and compensation include:

  • Loyalists perceive their work as challenging, interesting, and personally fulfilling.
  • Loyalists have strong relationships with their boss, transcending beyondthat of supervisor/subordinate.
  • Loyalists are clear about what their boss expects of them.
  • Loyalists maintain a good work-life balance, and their bosses support their personal lives.
  • Loyalists believe their company is a good place to work and are proud of their company.
  • Loyalists view compensation as an important factor in their loyalty.

Armed with this knowledge, any employer can utilize strategies to better manage, develop, and retain loyal workers. Consider the following when developing hire-and-hold strategies:

  • Promote the full value of a worker’s compensation, not just salary. This includes highlighting the costs associated with benefits such as health insurance and pension plans.Train managers to personally encourage workers to use every possible benefit.
  • Monitor worker sentiment closely and continuously, and measure it to keep a pulse on worker attitudes. Develop proactive strategies to manage significant changes.
  • Worker loyalty, like the work environment, is fluid. Don’t assume last year’s loyalty carried over through this year’s events.
  • Worker loyalty is dynamic; it’s not an inherent personality trait. A loyal worker can become disenchanted with his or her company, boss, or compensation
    at any time. Changes that might impact a worker’s perception of his or her job should be taken into consideration in advance.
  • A company’s reputation is an important factor in employee retention, as indicated by the pride exhibited by loyal workers. Employers should be sure to promote their contributions and value to the community, through both their products and philanthropy.
  • Good managers who communicate well, set clear expectations, and promote a healthy work-life balance make loyal workers.
  • Leverage loyalists as advocates whenever possible when recruiting (bring them in to interviews to talk up the company).