Build loyalty not turnover, with engaged employees

The key to less staff turnover and a higher incidence of employee engagement boils down to recruiting well, giving employees ample reason to enjoy what they do and with whom, and above all, presenting them with incentives, challenges and a positive culture that act as “carrots” to stay.


However, does retention equate to company loyalty?

Earning a good income is one major reason for staff retention, but loyalty (like respect) cannot be commanded, it can only be earned in return. You won’t engender loyalty when you take credit for another’s good work, or worse, you seldom walk the walk you expect of others.

Benefits for the business

According to HighGround, highly engaged employees are twice as likely to remain in the company and/or help a co-worker, and three times as likely to do something good and unexpected for the company. And they will be five times as likely to recommend the company to a friend or relative as a great place to work.

eve ash

Source: HighGround

No loyalty around unethical behaviour

Loyalty cannot flourish where there is unethical behaviour, divide-and-rule tactics, parade ground screaming, and unforgiving, unrealistic targets to be met. Eventually, even company mice roar and quit rather than destroy themselves for the sake of a few percentages.

It needs to be remembered too that just because some people keep taking whatever punishment is metered out doesn’t mean they are loyal. They are hoping that a sadistic manager will eventually see reason and treat them like human beings – but this won’t necessarily happen.

Nor can loyalty be bought by so-called loyalty programs. Some are undeniably attractive, such as the promise of overseas conferences in tropical climates, but are they worthwhile when staff must whistle discordant tunes for the sake of pleasing senior management and the board? 

“Imposter syndrome”

Whether it is falsely representing credentials or exaggerating, some people claim to have managed projects when in fact they were an assistant. Such people seldom engender loyalty for the simple reason that most staff and colleagues have found them out long ago and are simply putting up with them because of the regular salary (which in this disruptive employment climate is a whole lot better than unpaid bills) or until they depart to a more appealing setup.

How widespread is this version of the “imposter syndrome”? One of my bosses in my early years in a government job supposedly had a PhD, but he was later busted and didn’t even have a degree! I still wonder how many fake credentials continue to get through the recruitment phase.

Build loyalty and reduce turnover

If you want to build loyalty and reduce turnover, you need to:

  • Find what makes employees tick and happy, and see (within reason) that their needs are met;
  • Look after staff morale and address concerns openly, honestly and with care;
  • Maximise staff contributions through workplace policies and grievance remedies that have resonance;
  • Reward effort and consistently high quality output by providing flexibility, training; and most of all
  • Be open and sensible about employees’ career paths.

Personal and company growth are both important in the scheme of things, and in fact, they are symbiotic.

An engaged employee who feels there’s room to flourish and who is the beneficiary of timely salary increases and promotions will add considerably to a company’s bottom line.

If you care, they will care to stick around and in turn, care for what you are building together.

Eve Ash is a psychologist, author, filmmaker, public speaker and entrepreneur. She runs Seven Dimensions, a company specialising in training resources for the workplace. See the rest of Eve’s blogs here.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.