The Power of Loyal Workplace Relationships - Part 2: The Employee
In the first part of this series I discussed how employers can improve loyalty within their business, as often clients would contact me for ideas on how to drive a more positive internal culture and increase staff retention. As I explained in that article, improving workplace loyalty isn’t based on a simple formula and there is no quick fix, however there are steps employers can take to initiate change – and see improvement in just a short space of time.
But fostering healthy workplace relationships should be a two-way street, based on mutual respect and understanding. So today, I’ll look at loyalty from the viewpoint of the employee - examining five ways in which individuals can demonstrate workplace loyalty and contribute to a more positive internal company culture overall.
1. Understand the business you work in.
- The first step towards demonstrating loyalty to your employer is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. How did the business start? Does the company have a vision, set of values and mission statement? If so, do you really understand what they represent? Where is the business heading in the next 12 months, 2 years or even 5 years? If this information isn’t readily available, ask your supervisor if they can help. If you’re across the ‘why’s’ of where you work – and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover! – it’s likely you’ll form a fresh perspective of your employer, your workplace and your own place within it.
2. Be across your rights and workplace responsibilities.
- By demonstrating that you understand what is expected of you in your role and are fully across your rights as an employee – you are showing your employer that you take your job seriously, which shows commitment and dedication. There are two key points for consideration:
i. Do you understand your entitlements and what your contract includes, or excludes? Never assume anything and if unsure, always direct any questions to your supervisor, HR Manager or even the business owner – never a colleague. There are also external organisations you can contact for advice and support if you need unbiased information and help with understanding your employee rights. Depending on the industry in which you work, your employee handbook should include this information.
ii. Have you got access to your job description and know exactly what’s expected within your role? Regularly take the time to review your KPIs and responsibilities, and ensure you’re performing the position you were employed to do. If you have any concerns, once again liaise with your supervisor – communication is key! And always strive to do the best you can, as you’ll also be demonstrating loyalty to yourself and your abilities.
3. Think long-term!
- As mentioned in my previous article [link to Part 1 blog], it’s important to think beyond your current employer/employee relationship - particularly if you work in an industry that’s niche or ‘small’. It’s common for individuals to reconnect later down the track in different workplaces, and even recommend each other’s organisations for business opportunities. So remember, by demonstrating loyalty to the job and business in which you work – you’re setting up long-term relationships that can lead to unexpected prospects in the future.
4. Don’t speak ill.
- One of the biggest no-no’s for all employees – whatever their level is within an organisation – is to speak negatively about their workplace and colleagues, especially if social media is used in daily life. Not only can this foster a negative workplace culture, you also run the risk of damaging your employer’s and their business’ reputation – and this could have serious legal ramifications for you. But you can show loyalty to your employer by following your business’ social media pages and actively engaging with their posts through likes, shares and comments. Extra points if you have a LinkedIn profile, as any interactions you make with your business’ professional page will be seen by your networks – which is a fantastic way of driving awareness of your workplace amongst others. But remember, always keep it positive!
5. Remember – your employer is human, too!
- It’s easy to forget that the owner of the company where you’re employed, your direct supervisor and other key management personnel are people too. Just like you, they’re employed to fulfil a critical role within your workplace and are on the payroll, and any negativity within the workplace will also be felt by them. So while it can be easy to adopt an ‘us versus them’ mentality, by thinking the opposite you will likely gain greater respect from your superiors, form stronger bonds and be rewarded for your loyalty through future career opportunities.
Every workplace is of course different, and unfortunately it’s not always straightforward to fix a broken culture when you’re in a more junior position. You may also be in an environment where the business owner or management team are their own roadblocks, which may mean your efforts are futile. But in my experience, all workplaces have the potential to become employers of choice – and sometimes change does have to begin a little lower down the ladder. So rather than thinking of work as a ‘means to an end’, perhaps it’s time to think ‘bigger picture’ – and examine how you value loyalty, and what you can do to improve your workplace’s culture. As ultimately the improvements will also be felt by you.
If you’re an individual who would like to talk further about my approach to workplace loyalty, or would like to discuss a new opportunity, please feel free to contact me at any time.