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Loyalty Starts At Home

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(Posted on Feb 14, 2015 at 05:41AM by William Cosgrove)

By Taking Care of the People Who Take Care of YOU!

Employee Loyalty & Customer Loyalty Can They Really Be Separated?


Employee Loyalty

I recently got involved in a discussion over an article that was written by a virtual acquaintance of mine Philip Nothard who posted an article entitled “Are carmakers killing off the optional extra ‘upsell’?” posted at AM Online an automotive publication.

The article was discussing the fact that car manufacturers are taking more control over how options are packaged and sold and how it may be further hurting franchise dealers sales/profits-But this is a subject for another time-

However, this morph into a discussion of how dealers operate today which gave me the opportunity to bring up the subject of employee relations and compensation-a subject that I feel strongly about and seize every opportunity to voice my feelings.

I have been self-employed for most of my career but over my professional career working for others my experience has mostly been in sales at some level and mainly in the Automotive Industry. But my discussion here applies to all businesses in all industries across the horizontal in terms of the need to be loyal to your employees.

To all businesses across the industry horizontal- Important Information.

“Don’t hang them out to dry” Promote Healthy Employee Relations

In this article and what a spot on title “The Secret to Delighting Customers? Put Employees First” co-authored by Disney Institute and McKinsey & Company explores the connection between companies that are good at both making their customers happy and making their employees happy.

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*Employee engagement programs can increase profits by $2400 per employee per year (Workplace Research Foundation)

*And in gallops “The Secret of Higher Performance” companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%

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For any organization to perform better it is necessary that the employees are comfortable with their employer, each other, and work in close coordination towards a common objective. People that feel appreciated and motivated to do good work and enjoy their work rather than taking it as a burden.

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*68% of U.S. full-time employees are suffering from work overload (Cornerstone)Nov. 10, 2014 — While the unemployment rate may have dropped in the past year, that doesn’t mean the workloads of those already employed are easing up. 68% of U.S. full-time employees are suffering from work overload, a 14% increase from 2013. Work Overload is the Biggest Productivity Killer In The US.

*56% of executives say promoting loyalty is "not a major focus, but valued nevertheless" (American Management AssociationJust “Political Rhetoric”. In other words not very important.

* 24% of executives say promoting employee loyalty was "never valued nor a major focus" (American Management Association) - Fewer here but maybe being more honest and forthright.

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It is important that the management promotes healthy employee relations at workplace to get the best out of each individual. Competition is essential but it should not promote negativity.

But more often than not, in today’s mindset of increasing the bottom line at any price focusing on rewarding and cultivating dedicated and loyal employees has become the exception to the rule but the benefits of being the exception can be enormous.

 

The Bottom Line/Top Line Struggle

About thirty years ago it became popular and necessary for many bloated companies to downsize and cut the fat to survive in the marketplace. But what began as a necessary effort to make companies more efficient has evolved into quarterly driven public and privately owned companies whose principal mission is to do anything to show grow often at the expense of the people on the front lines-its employees.

Employees are the ones on the front lines day in and day out and are the heart and soul of your business. A company’s employees are the ones making it all happen and driving those dollars to the bottom line.

Bottom Line Growth is not sustainable only Top Line Growth is and only Top Line Growth will get you real sustainable growth without diminishing the infrastructure of what drives that growth.

“We have all heard the expression that you need to “Spend Money to Make Money?” Have you ever heard the expression that you need to “Save Money to Make Money?”

Maybe it adds more to the bottom line- but is this really true?

*Each year the average company loses 20-50% of its employee base (Bain & Company)

*Replacing a lost employee costs 150% of that person’s annual salary (Columbia University) (2009 statistic)

*Replacing an experienced worker can cost 50% or more of the individual's annual salary in turnover-related costs (AARP)

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Employee loyalty and dedication is critical to a company’s long term success. If you want to grow your business, you need to have an environment that encourages team work, and encourages everyone to work together to learn and try new things and to give 100%.

One of the hardest parts about running a company is attracting and retaining real talent. The only way to realistically do this is with a great atmosphere, fair compensation, employees that feel good about coming into work with the desire and motivation to perform their best. If employees are not motivated, poorly compensated, or are unsure about their position, the results of this type of atmosphere will not only restrict growth and result in high turnover but combined can and probably will seriously restrict it.

You can have all the proven systems in place that guarantee success but if you don’t have true leaders and talented and dedicated employees to institute those systems you are most likely going to fail or at the least underperform in the marketplace.

Dedicated Employees Foster Loyal Customers

(Image courtesy of periscopeiq.com)

Engaged and dedicated employees provide better service and show genuine concern for customers that is a reflection of confidence in the company and shows through to put customers at ease “instilling trust” that gives them the confidence to do business with them-your company.

“Remember People Buy People”

Dedicated employees generally stay longer with a company when they feel comfortable working there which also shows customers that they also can feel confident continuing their relationship with the company and recommending them to their peers-all contributing towards sustainable long term growth.

Monetate, who powers multi-channel personalization for the world’s best brands reports that 73% of consumers would consider purchasing from a brand again if they had a superior customer experience.

Consider This From Knowledge @Wharton

MetLife’s 10th annual survey of employee benefits, trends and attitudes puts employee loyalty at a seven-year low. One in three employees, the survey says, plans to leave his or her job by the end of the year. According to a 2011 Careerbuilder.com report, 76% of full-time workers, while not actively looking for a new job, would leave their current workplace if the right opportunity came along. Other studies show that each year the average company loses anywhere from 20% to 50% of its employee base.

Whatever the actual figures some employees are clearly feeling disconnected from their work. Among the reasons cited for this: the recession, during which companies laid off huge swaths of their employees with little regard for loyalty or length of service; a whittling away of benefits, training and promotions for those who remain; and a generation of young millennials (ages 15 to 30) who have a different set of expectations about their careers, including the need to “be their own brand,” wherever it takes them. In a nomadic world, one of the casualties is a decreasing sense of commitment to the organization.

Wharton management professor Adam Cobb sees another reason for what is clearly an evolving relationship. “When you are talking about loyalty in the workplace, you have to think about it as a reciprocal exchange,” says Cobb. “My loyalty to the firm is contingent on my firm’s loyalty to me. But there is one party in that exchange which has tremendously more power, and that is the firm.”

Cobb suggests that at a minimum, “loyalty is not something a company can rely on. But when people say that employees have no loyalty to their firms, you get into a chicken-and-egg kind of argument. Imagine a different world where firms took care of their employees, and loyalty was reciprocal. Would employees be job hopping to the extent they are now?”

* 28% of all employees are currently looking for work at another organization (Modern Survey)

* 27% of US workers plan to seek new employment in the next year (American Psychological )

Are you Convinced yet? So……. Where’s The Beef?

One big reason that Businesses today lack the dedication and leadership needed to build a truly successful business is the lack of compensation (proper pay for performance). This for some reason lately has become a dirty word in some circles.

Remembering someone’s birthday, giving extra time off and pats on the back in lieu of compensation is just placating the powers that be. Anyone who talks like this is either doing it so as not to upset clients or have never been in the trenches trying to make a living-or both.

All this is good will but if it isn’t backed up with “proper pay for performance” you will never attract the true dedicated leaders and employees that can get the job done.

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*35% of employees report they will look for a new job if they do not receive a pay raise in the next 12 months (Glassdoor)

*According to employees, salary is more important to job satisfaction (88%) than having a certain title (55%) (CareerBuilder)

*65% of full-time U.S. workers say they do not currently earn their desired salary (CareerBuilder)

*Dissatisfied employees cite concerns over salary (66%) and not feeling valued (65%) most often as reasons for their dissatisfaction (CareerBuilder)

*40% of employees wish their employer cared more about their financial well-being (Virgin Pulse)

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I hope that what I discussed here will touch upon a personal experience that you have had or are having and maybe entice you to share it with us here. I understand if you are concerned about retribution at your current employer-How Sad-but maybe you have a previous experience or can just fictionalize your current situation

Also if you have or work for a company that takes care of the people who take care of them, let me know how they are doing it and the success they are realizing for doing it right.

 

*Employee Engagement & Loyalty Statistics: The Ultimate Collection by Posted byBrandon Carter was an important source for many of the statistics in this article- Thank you.

William Cosgrove

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Communicating In The Modern Workplace

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(Posted on Apr 12, 2014 at 04:40AM by William Cosgrove)
Including employees as part of an onsite social community can act as transparent communications ecosystem in which to collaborate, communicate and provide your employees with a platform from which they can interact with their social channels, you and your customers.

The following Infographic from The Queens University of Charlotte, Communicating in The Modern Workplace, defines a modern workplace which can be managed and fostered in a company sponsored community benefiting both your employees and company as a whole.


William Cosgrove
Bill Cosgrove Straight Talk


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'Bad Management' is Just Plain Bad for Business

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(Posted on Feb 22, 2014 at 06:06AM by William Cosgrove)
Picture As promised, I am following up on my article from yesterday “Do You Want a Company of 'Heroes or Zeros?' which came about from an article that received a lot of comments entitled “The Secret to Delighting Customers? Put Employees First” That brings up problems in the workplace that we all have encountered and all need to find solutions for.

Bad Management

Bad management runs rampant in organizations.  Always be suspect when in an interview when a manager says “What goes on here stays here” or “It’s my way or the highway”.

A good manager is secure in his or her position and is someone who can encourage ideas and foster an atmosphere of openness and collaboration. An insecure manager or bad manager will not hold on to good people and many times staff does not want to go to upper management for fear of retribution. This has devastating effects on performance of the department.  

All emotions stem from insecurity and must be controlled because it has no place in a workplace setting or anywhere else for that matter. It is a disease that will eat away at and hold back any organization.

An insecure manager will isolate themselves and more often than not hold people their ideas and consequently the business back because he or she are afraid of losing their position to someone else who they feel may be seen as more qualified. If someone is in fear of losing their job to someone under any circumstance, they probably should not have gotten the job in the first place.

There are many other factors that define a bad manager. One kind of manager is the one who is inconsistent saying one thing and doing another without explaining their actions and who is arrogant in believing they are always right and makes sure everyone knows it. This type of manager is often egocentric and makes every issue about them, doesn’t listen to advice offered but ignores it before even considering it. This inhibits the staff from even mentioning any ideas they may have and leaves them feeling helpless and feeling that nothing will ever be done to improve on a bad situation.

 These managers are also often self-centered and do not support, encourage or look out for their team. The worst are mean and abusive and make people feel bad for no reason.

Then there are managers who micro-manage and refuse to delegate anything, despite what they say. This isolates them so they often don’t involve others in decisions and rarely look for ways to support or encourage the work of their team. This is often is caused by incompetence or the lack of basic communication, intellectual, or emotional skills needed to for their role.

 And the complacent manager is content with the way things are and is not open to change. They like things the way they are because they have become lazy or are afraid to rock the boat for fear that things might take a turn for the worse or jeopardize their position.

One experience I had when I was still a salesperson at a dealership where there were 24 salespeople we had a GM who we called “Little Caesar.” This title came from his short stature and dictatorial style of managing. He would hold three to four meetings a day and would rant and rave and almost every day a salesperson would end up getting fired. He would always say “Your weak, give me your plate and keys, you’re all done”

Another time The GM as the son of the owner who raced sailboats and was rarely at the dealership.  I believe this had an effect on our GSM because he spent more time outside the dealership hobnobbing with hockey players from the Boston Bruins who were spokesman for the dealership and relying on myself and my counterpart to run the daily sales operations.

I have also be part of organizations where a manager spent valuable company time in generating options as solutions to a problem but the problem was created by this same manager. Incompetent managers create more problems than they solve and then waste time to solve the same problems they created in the first place.

I have given some example here of what I have run into over the years being part of the workforce. These experiences convinced me to spend most of my working career being self-employed trying to avoid the pitfalls that bad management can inflict.

Let’s hear some of your experiences of how it has or may be affecting you and thoughts on possible solutions for this age old problem and human condition that affects the performance of so many businesses.

William Cosgrove
Bill Cosgrove Straight Talk