Loyalty and Engagement: Can You Have One Without The Other?

21 Dec

When it comes to finding ways of working with employees, management isn’t always certain which path to follow. Especially in larger corporations, it can be difficult to establish a one-on-one relationship with every subordinate, but failing that, employee self-service software and other human resources tools can help give a peek into the inner thoughts and desires of staff members. Using those motivations, leaders can better determine how to direct incentive plans and meet with those in need of assistance.

There are some elements of human resources analytics that may confuse even HR personnel themselves, though, such as the debate between employee loyalty and engagement strategies. Understanding each of these factors can help those in charge gain a better grasp of what they need to focus on and with whom. While not all workers will be engaged, they could still be loyal, or even the other way around.

The Engagement Puzzle
On its own, employee engagement can be hard to understand. Having engaged staff means a workforce that knows about corporate culture and how to realize it, as well as their own part in making that process happen. The best bosses are those who keep open dialogues with their teams, being open and sharing honestly the things that are happening around the office and that directly impact each individual.

When workers are left in the dark and feel isolated from their supervisors, they tend to get the impression that they don’t matter in the greater scheme of the corporation. This is an idea that must be squashed if companies are going to encourage better employee engagement. Bringing workers into the discussion will show them that they truly do matter.

Another option is creating internal means of communicating with other members of the business at all levels, such as allowing email and instant messaging. There are also message board options that companies can utilize. Similar to Twitter and other social media networks but isolated from such an open online context, these resources keep workers up-to-date on corporate happenings, making them feel more a part of a community.

Loyalty in the Workplace
Similar to engagement, employee loyalty practices require that management keeps open lines of communication and talk openly, regularly and honestly with members of the workforce at all different levels. Unlike engagement, though, loyalty requires building a personal interest in the well-being of a worker, whereas engagement means making them feel like an important part of the business no matter what position they hold.

It is very easy for an employee to be engaged without being loyal. A study by the IBM Institute for Business Values found that most companies believe consumers follow them on Facebook because they feel loyal to the business, but only about one-third of people agree with that statement. Most of them just want deals, the survey revealed. While these users are engaged by the page and may look at it every day, they will likely shop elsewhere if a better deal appears.

In short, HR personnel may see a lot of engaged but loosely-attached workers if bosses don’t make an effort to connect with workers in a meaningful way. Business leaders need to encourage honest dialogue and considerate conversation among all workers, as otherwise communication can seem more like noise and less an honest attempt to encourage loyalty. Just as a corporate online presence can deter consumers if it seems too much like spam, so too will employees tune out corporate messages that sound too generic.

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