lucy dunnBy Lucy Dunn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) | 19 November 2015

Employee loyalty is paramount to the success and continuity of any company, yet treating your employees like family members sound oxymoron. In a real family, have you ever heard of the father firing his daughter because her grades at school are not up to expectations? And yet firing is still common in those companies that constantly talk about employees being “like family.”

In the latest publication by Reid Hoffman, Cofounder and Chairman of Linkedin, he says that your employees are your alliance, not your family, and treating them as an alliance is the best way to manage talent in the networked age. Businesses needs to have long-term thinking to invest in the future, and to enable long-term thinking, you need loyalty from your “alliance members”.

Emotions drive our behavior, yet, many leaders have not themselves been trained or have any idea how to connect with employees or direct reports in ways that motivate the desired behavior at work. Instead they are spending most of their time doing corporate planning, strategizing ways to combat their competitors, to make sure the company stays at the forefront in technology, and trying to figure out how to exceed expectations of their customers. This means there is precious little time or thought or budget spent on their most valuable asset – their employees. Your Alliance Members, known to you as employees, are looking for connection and a sense of emotional well-being even at work. They want respectful relationships with their boss, peers, and even customers. They thrive knowing that they are trusted and grow when they are meaningfully challenged. If your company can cultivate loyalty, you will be ahead of the game in Talent Management, so don’t spend the time and money trying to hire a TA manager, be one!

Why do emotion AND emotional connections matter so much at work? For any competent individual, money and title are abundant in the market. These are relatively easily to get, and are transactional values, meaning you do your work, you get paid. With companies that seek to understand their employees, what motivates and demotivates them, emotional content and connections matter. These companies have a much better chance in succeeding in building a longer-lasting business. Listening to your employees as individuals does take a little more time, but what is better investment than building a loyal AND high performing team? Is flex time important for some, is meaningful and timely feedback more helpful to some, is challenging or varied work really motivating, is security important because of family challenges? Being able to have an honest conversation with your employees, I believe, is the key to making emotional connections and you will find out a lot more about the individual by listening than by monitoring and the whole time you are building trust vs. mistrust.

Below are the top reasons why people stay at their job -

  • I enjoy the work I do
  • My job fits well with the other areas of my life
  • The benefits
  • The pay
  • I feel connected to the organization
  • I feel connected to my co-workers
  • My job gives me the opportunity to make a difference
  • My manager acts in a way that proves they value me

You will see that many of the top reasons are connected to the individual’s emotion sense of wellbeing. These have a direct impact on how well they perform and how well they are connected at the work place.

So be mindful of your employees’ emotional needs, and they will look after your business.

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