How do you gain employee loyalty? You have to earn it.
To build a successful FEC, you need hardworking employees that are knowledgeable about your facility and are dedicated to constantly finding ways to improve processes and the business overall.
Having and keeping these kinds of employees who exemplify this is a result of loyalty. Loyalty towards YOU.
3 Ways to Earn Employee Loyalty
To understand how to earn employee loyalty, it’s best to first define what loyalty means. I think of devotion, commitment, and dependability. Loyalty, as a general term, signifies a person’s devotion or sentiment of attachment to a particular object, which may be another person or group of persons, an ideal, a duty, or a cause.
Employee loyalty can be defined in the same way. A loyal employee should be committed to the success of your FEC and fully embrace your brand.
Let's jump into 3 things you can do to earn and retain the loyalty of your staff!
1. Invest in Staff Training and Development
Reading resumes won’t cover who your staff is comprised of, it will only share their accomplishments in work history. That's why it's up to you, as the owner or manager of your facility, to take the interview process seriously when hiring.
Frank Price, a training guru for FECs, suggests holding auditions for new hires rather than interviews. This will show how your potential associates will not only interact with you, but also how they will engage with your guests.
Place your group of interviewees into an audition-type environment and have them act out a typical day at your facility. Maybe a birthday party. How do they make the guest of honor feel special? How do they act when asked to perform seemingly menial or tedious tasks? Their “performance” will help you identify who will be the right fit for your facility, as well as separate the leaders from the followers.
Involve your current staff in these auditions as well. You want to put the right employees in the right positions, so it’s important to learn and assess the strengths of every staff member, old and new alike.
Talk to them. Take an interest in what their passions are, and what positions at your facility is most closely related to what they like.
For example, if you have a potential employee who says she adores making up games for her young nieces and nephews to play, she would be a fantastic party host! If you have a staff member who you remember has a passion for cooking, but has been working the front desk for months, maybe it’s time he steps into the kitchen and begins training under your chef. You’ll be amazed at the increased volume and efficiency of tasks that need to be accomplished when you do this.
Employee loyalty towards your organization will directly depend on the facility’s loyalty to the employee. You can’t expect someone to complete tasks correctly and to your preference if you haven’t spent time investing in their training or learning about them. If your staff sees that you care about their professional and personal development, they’re more likely to remain positively engaged, hard-working, and loyal.
2. Invest in Employee Recognition
Now, I don’t mean giving out free pizza every shift or constantly showering your staff with special gifts to buy their loyalty, but you should reward them for their time and commitment!
Give salary or hourly wages that are a bit higher than around the corner. The pay will allow you to justify asking a bit more from the staff, however, they should be up for the challenge when they know salaries would be less at your competitors’ facilities.
This could also mean individual employee recognition for a job well done. It can be easy to say “That’s what I pay them for though!”, but it’s important to shine a light on examples of a great staff member, both to give praise to that employee, as well as showing the rest of your team what you’re looking for in terms of work ethic.
I watched an episode of "Grace and Frankie" recently. Guilty pleasure. I bring it up because there was a scene that really made sense while writing this blog. The character, a boss, had a ridiculously hard time giving an employee positive affirmation. She only felt the need to praise a job well done when she thought he was looking for a new job. She gave him a small raise and an awkward smile to keep him “loyal.”
Why is it so hard to share kudos? We all want to feel appreciated for what we do. Reward with affirmations, promotions, and recognition for their loyalty. If you show appreciation, you will have higher employee satisfaction, resulting in loyalty!
Respect and appreciation is the key to a loyal employee and a successful working relationship.
3. Invest in Building and Maintaining a Positive Employee Culture and Share
Remember the old adage, Practice what you preach? If you adopt what you’re selling, it’s a given, people will buy.
Share your WHY with your team. Why you started this business, what your goals were/are, why you want to continue being a part of this industry every day. Then ask why your staff wants to work with you.
Highlight that you’re glad they want to be part of your team. Emphasize that you value a team culture. The culture of your facility can mean its history, traditions, values, and vision.
As a standard, lead by example. Above all, your attitude and behavior in the facility will enhance the employee experience. If you’re dedicated to a team culture, stick to your core values, and constantly work for your why, your employees will trust that you genuinely care about them and your business.
Earn Their Loyalty
Earning employee loyalty is a critical milestone if you are looking to achieve FEC success. Investing in staff training/development and employee recognition, as well as building and maintaining a positive employee culture and sharing your why are three investments you can make to help you reach your goals.
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