Developing Loyal Employees

Do you want workers who will give their all every day? Get back to the basics of treating people with respect and recognize it when they do something to help the company.

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Yesterday, I was speaking to Jill (not her real name) who had been on extended sick leave. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. She returned to work but was hurt that not one of the managers called to see how she was doing. Her immediate supervisor would call but quickly cut to the chase, asking her when she was coming back to work. The cancer is in remission now, but Jill says, “I am not going the extra mile like before; they don’t care about me, and I don’t care about them!”

If you want loyal employees, here are six things you should be doing:

1. Show you care.

If we treat people only as the means to an end, we will never have their loyalty. Don’t just consider them as robots on your coglike production line. Treat your people right. It doesn’t mean being overly attentive or soft, but demonstrate that you value people.

It doesn’t take much effort to show you care. If you have an employee on extended sick leave or who loses a family member, pick up the phone and call them. Be genuinely sympathetic. It will mean the world to them. Sending a card or flowers is good, but take the time to call them. This is something they will never forget. You don’t have to pry, but just a simple “How are you doing today?” will let them know that you care. Some employees require time off for family commitments or educational or professional development programs. Where possible, be flexible. If employees have to go through red tape or interrogation to get time off, they may decide to call in sick.

2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Wanting employees to come in early and leave late on a daily basis shows a lack of respect for their personal lives. Additionally, contacting them after work hours or while they are on vacation should be avoided. Yes, there are situations where you will need to, but this should not be the norm. When employees realize you don’t care about them by infringing on their personal time, everything you do regarding relationship-building activities will seem superficial. And a good manager doesn’t talk down to staff or make them feel inferior. Team members should not feel any pressure or be afraid to come directly to you. Show respect for all those you come in contact with.

3. Connect with your team.

Be visible and make your presence felt. Don’t lock yourself in your office and only communicate with staff when you want something done. How can you motivate the troops when you are out of sight? Come down from the mountaintop and mix and mingle with your crew. Sit at lunch with them. Get to know your team. Build relationships.

4. Grant autonomy.

Micromanaging and breathing down someone’s neck all the time can be very disheartening. Sometimes knowing when to step back and let your employees do their work is what they need. Give people responsibility and challenges that will help them to grow. Let them come up with ideas. When you empower your employees, it shows that you trust them and they will not want to let you down.

5. Be fair and neutral.

We know too well about office politics and favoritism. It’s really sad when employees can tell who will be getting the next promotion based on a manager’s relationship with some employees. Unfair practices relate to how vacancies are filled, disciplining inconsistently and even in how a leader allows leeway in work schedules. This fosters low engagement. Give constructive feedback rather than criticism. Don’t give preferential treatment to some employees and ignore others. Everyone is watching and noticing more than you think.

6. Share and give credit.

Don’t brush over your crew’s successes with a bland acknowledgement while automatically working toward the next goal. Be generous with rewards, recognition and thank-yous. Recognize publicly. Rather than just recognizing top performers, include those who are improving or doing their best. Furthermore, celebrate victories. Don’t be a taskmaster. Yes, employees already know they come to the office to do a job, but you should not stop them from having fun as well. People want to work with great people and have fun at work.

A Final Word

Leadership is both a give and take relationship. If you want employees to go the extra mile, you have to go the extra mile too. If you want loyal employees, treat your people well. 

About the Author

Brigette Hyacinth is a leadership expert, keynote speaker and author of the book Purpose Driven Leadership. Reach her at


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