Magazine article Industrial Management

Cultivating Workforce Fidelity, Part Two

Magazine article Industrial Management

Cultivating Workforce Fidelity, Part Two

Article excerpt

Cultivating fidelity in your workforce is not just about reducing cosdy employee turnover: Statistical evidence closely relates employee loyalty to customer loyalty. The well-respected survey group Walker Information has tracked the relationship between companies with low turnover rates and customer satisfaction and found that the graph plots parallel each other. When employee loyalty drops, so does customer satisfaction.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has flown on the highly profitable Southwest Airlines or shopped at a busy Costco, Trader Joe's or Wegman's Food Market. These organizations all rank high on Fortune's "Best Companies to Work For" list and have high employee and customer satisfaction indexes. The smiles on the faces of happy employees are contagious; customers tend to smile as well.

Three cost-effective tactics can help create this sense of gratitude, reciprocity and loyalty among our rank and file.

Spousal support. Senior management would be wise to recognize "the other half' of the workforce. No one has greater influence than an employee's spouse. For all you know, the spouse may be encouraging your valued employee to seek greener pastures.

If your employee frequendy works overtime to complete an important project, that employee's husband or wife must be brought on board; otherwise, unspoken resentment may evolve into active subversion. Empathetic managers will invite spouses to a special event (group dinner, picnic or workplace open house) to explain the importance of the project that is, unfortunately, taking away from quality family time. Make the "other half contingent believers in the project; thank them for their patient support. Win the spouse over, and he or she will become not only a cheerleader but a shadow-manager, inquiring about the project's progress at the dinner table.

Happy birthday. Whether a company is concluding its first year in business or its 150th, it should be celebrated. Not to celebrate the company's birthday is to squander an opportunity to bring the employee and the "other half' of the workforce into the fold. A gala affair in a banquet room or a potluck dinner in the company lunchroom can have consequences well out of proportion to the money spent. …

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