• Nicky Webster-Hart

Has company loyalty disappeared?

Have we forgotten about loyalty in the world of business? What about those who have made a real long-term difference to the success of their company, at any level and what it means to have that old-fashioned loyalty we rarely see anymore. What has happened to employee loyalty?



Certainly you can argue that there are pockets left and where we do see loyalty in the workplace. It is often broken down into two areas: the person is doing an ok job but effectively has been paid a legacy salary over several years, is unemployable elsewhere and has no intention of leaving. A lifer, institutionalised within the company that they work for. On the other side, there are those who genuinely have the company’s best interests at heart and wants to see it become successful. They enjoy being part of the business and are enthusiastic and driven about the future performance of the company. It's this employee loyalty that feels to have fallen by the wayside.


In an age of a candidate driven environment, loyalty generally, seems to have all but gone. I heard a story about a recruiter who had a candidate apply for one of their roles who had already resigned and had a job to go to (was starting the next week and signed contracts etc) but wanted to see what else was out there . The recruiter told this person that they thought this wasn’t professional and could not represent them to any of their clients. The recruiter was being loyal to their own values in this instance (yes, I know, shock) but the candidate believed this was absolutely ok. With candidates ghosting recruiter approaches, not turning up to interviews and even not responding to job offers or turning them down as once something better comes along, are we in times when we are seeing recruiters holding the high moral ground?


So what can be done to encourage more company loyalty from employees? How can this trend be reverse? Does it need to come from employers, so that they retain talent and encourage loyalty? What is it that employees really want from their employers and is it all about money? People leave jobs for a better salary, a better working environment, better career prospects, a challenge, work/life balance that fits with them….if they have all of that then why would they leave? Could it really be that simple? Certainly talent retention is more cost effective (ask any Finance Director (FD) and they will tell you about the cost of staff turnover in terms of lost productivity, recruitment, training and more) so why aren’t employers doing everything they can to make sure all the reasons people leave are covered?


If they did this, would we have the candidate led market we have now? Or is it a generational trend? Do those people who are less likely to show loyalty have a shorter employment history? Speaking to a CFO recently he said

“Millennials typically don’t show loyalty - they chase the £s and don’t have the loyalty older generations have….a colleague of mine’s son lost his job and rather than think "I need a new one quick smart" he called his mates and played golf.......”

According to research undertaken by Deloitte in 2016, 44 percent of millennials would leave their job within two years and 16% millennials saw themselves remaining with their current employers a decade from now. The latest candidate movement suggests that loyalty hasn't increased within these areas. So perhaps it is driven by a generation or maybe companies aren't culturally connecting with their employees future career demands.


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