Some days this Irishman drives home from the corporate office energized and in a state of euphoria. This happens when I hear stories about exceptional workplaces and people.
Recently I was talking to a woman who is an employee of a cancer research charity organization. I was asking her if she could put me in contact with people who have had cancer and were treated exceptionally well by workplace management. She then told me about a program that her charity program organizes. It is a reward program where fellow employees reward each other with “Kudos points” for going over and beyond the normal call of duty. What really impressed me was how much thought went into this program. The kudos points are only awarded for specific focus items of this charity organization:
1. Fiscal Responsibility (reduced expenses or increased charitable donations)
2. Operational Improvement (improvements to work processes – saving time, money or increasing employee satisfaction, improving timeliness or quality of service)
3. Customer Service (providing outstanding service to staff, volunteers, survivors, or donors, and displaying passion and integrity. Going the extra mile)
4. Strategic and Organizational Development (committing to be a positive agent of change, upgrading professional skills, treating interactions with the public as opportunities to support the organization and its mission)
There is then a team that evaluates the online points tracking system and every three months, they identify a winner. The winner has their name engraved on a silver cup that is presented at a staff gathering. It is displayed, and they also have their picture put on the organizations website. What a genius idea; fun, positive, rewarding, energizing, and totally focused on the charity organizations goals for success.
Imagine working in a place where employees are proactively looking out for positive work related behaviors. Envision how this positive forum would energize employees, make them feel good, and increase loyalty.
I then happened to go to the credit union where I do my banking for my public speaking business. I was telling her that one of the subjects I speak on is workplace excellence, and I shared some examples of unique things I have witnessed. She then told me about her husband who had battled cancer for six years before reaching a point of “no recovery”. I could see in her eyes that she was suppressing her emotions, but she exclaimed, “I am so loyal to this company, I would never leave! They will have to drag me out of here, and I would do anything to help them out”. She then told me that for the weeks that her husband was dying, she was told to stay away from work and spend time with him, and to “come back when you are ready”. The management and employees did not stop there; they visited her and her husband every single day at the hospital, even if it was just for a few minutes. This in my opinion is not a workplace, it is family!
Imagine if your fellow employees had that “golden heart” of loyalty.
Envision the increased profit from a reduction in turnover of valued employees. High turnover of employees is very expensive from a financial perspective and from a morale perspective. Putting systems in place where loyalty is increased is going to have huge payback. Surveys indicate that only about 30% of employees feel loyalty to their company and only 25% feel that their company deserves it. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely.
Ten Things you can do to enhance employee loyalty:
1. Get employees to brainstorm and identify ways to recognize and reward each other
2. Celebrate, celebrate, and celebrate as many events as possible. Move beyond the office Christmas party!! Celebrate success, and even celebrate failure
3. Get ideas from the book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees by Bob Nelson
4. Get ideas from the Institute of Great Places to Work – click here to get to the online resource section http://www.greatplacetowork.com/great/reading.php
5. Keep employees engaged and challenged
6. Allow a workplace where balanced fun is promoted by all levels of the organization
7. Motivate employees by employing managers that have positive energy and can energize others
8. Solicit feedback from employees on their loyalty, what does the company do to make them loyal (or to erode loyalty)
9. Ask the question – does the company deserve loyalty?
10. Do everything in your power to get a strong culture of respect and trust.
What are some things that employees of Fortune 100 Companies say (summarized and referenced from The Great Places To Work Institute at http://www.greatplacetowork.com/great/employees.php)
a) My boss has an open door policy. I can walk in and discuss issues honestly and openly
b) I am encouraged to take risks and I am not punished for making mistakes
c) The employer puts people before profits – happy energized employees will take care of profits
d) There are opportunities for personal and professional development
e) My superiors are fair in their decision making
f) I feel my job makes a difference to the organization
g) The company I work for has products and services that are valuable to the community
h) The company takes care of its people, especially in a crisis
P.S. When I see workplace excellence that drives loyalty to the extent that someone states, “they would have to drag me out of here kicking and screaming”, it opens my eyes to the possibilities. I would really appreciate if you could share any stories with me regarding unique things that are happing. Just comment on this blog or send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org