Loyalty is important and more so where teamwork is necessary. The strong feelings of allegiance or support towards another being or a cause can be worth more than what money can buy. It is one thing to have well skilled and competent employees whose performance at work is beyond reproach, but then again it is completely another to have a team that you can confidently call loyal. Loyal teams will always see you through the easy and the difficult times, but can you really say the same for those who are not? I think not.
As managers and small business owners, nobody wants to rely on team members who would never raise a finger above their desk to help grow the company further and would probably abandon the ship in a heartbeat at the slightest sign of rough waters or greener pastures elsewhere. Unfortunately, unmotivated loyalty from employees towards a company appears to have gone with the last century.
Managers have to work hard to build and nurture loyalty within their workforce both in and outside of the office. It is quite a task, but fortunately not all that difficult to do. Below are some of the effective tips that as a manager or a team leader, you can use to easily build a team that will not only be loyal to you, but also to the company and to some extent to each other:
1. Lead with Example and Support Confidence in the Leadership
Loyalty is like respect, you have to show it first for you to receive it. Show your team loyalty in all aspects and they will not find it hard to do the same. Be loyal to the company, the work you are doing, all your clients and most importantly everyone in your team. If your desire is good results, work towards showing the same and show the team that you value the company as a whole by always doing what’s good for the company. Also let them see how you handle your clients with respect and how you always make sure that you give them value for their money.
Loyalty especially towards managers and other leaders is normally pegged on the amount of confidence the workforce has in them. When your team has confidence in the company and in you, they will trust in the direction in which the company is going and want to be part of it.
It’s not difficult to show loyalty to your team members and build their confidence in your leadership. Always honor your promises to them and take extra steps to explain when you are unable to. Pay them exactly what you said you will and do so on time. When an opportune arises within the company that can be of great value to them, tell them about it and even aid them pursue it where possible. Be ever ready to help them grow both in their career and in their lives in general, and in turn they will work towards the same for you and for the company.
2. Cultivate Honesty
Honesty is certainly a virtue when it comes to loyalty. When everyone is honest about everything that concerns them and the work that they are doing, trust is build which goes on to foster allegiance. Be it time or money let honesty always prevail, you cannot insist on your employees’ time management and resource utilization accountability, yet you are not willing to put in place facilities that will make it difficult to be dishonest about it. Management software that includes time and resource tracking will definitely set the standards on honesty within your team when you put it in place.
Set your long and short term objectives to include integrity and clearly set the procedures for dealing with anyone who goes against them. Be firm on implementing the set objectives and avoid compromise or biasness at all costs. When everyone is on the same page with regards to the company, a sense of loyalty tends to bind them together, and that’s what every manager or business owner hopes to ultimately have.
3. Recognize and Appreciate Everyone’s Contribution
It is very easy to take for granted the individual contribution of a person in a team. Being in a remote team makes it even harder to be recognized or even remembered. As a manager, you should take steps above and beyond the norm to make sure an individual’s contribution is recognized and appreciated. The recognition can take all forms including but not limited to bonuses, end of year parties or sponsored training programs for them.
If and when you are introducing a new product, service or branch, asking your team for their opinion could go a long way in showing you value them. Such employees will feel an attachment towards the company and will always bring their best to see that they grow together with it. No matter what little contribution a team member makes, if it helps the company in one way or another, appreciate it and praise them for it. Even praise alone without tangible or monetary appreciation can sometimes be sufficient in motivating your team and building loyalty.
4. Identify Unique Skills of your Team Members and Nurture Them
Everybody has a personal skill that they posses right from birth. These are the skills that are sometimes referred to as talents and may or may not be relevant to the work that they are doing now. Now, if you really want a loyal team member, someone who can give an arm for the company, learn what their special skills are and find ways to nurture and even utilize them for the company.
It is not hard to know what each of your team is good at naturally. Most of the time, people include their hobbies and special interests in their resumes, but then again you could simply ask them what it is. Say for instance you ask someone in your programming team what their personal skill is and they tell you it’s dancing. The next time the company is organizing an event or a party where music will be playing, ask that person for advice on what kind of music to have at that event. Let that person’s expertise on the latest trends in music help in organizing the event and you might just have a better occasion than you would have, not to mention the self value that you will have instilled on that person with regards to the company.
5. Reward Their Efforts, Hard Work and Successes
Nothing kills the feeling of commitment and loyalty in an employee for the company faster than being taken for granted. Someone works tirelessly day and night to design that presentation that finally pulls in the big clients and then what happens? The project manager gets all the praise, not to mention the sweet commissions that come with such accounts. Now, it’s okay for the manager or team leader to receive the recognition on behalf of the whole team. What is not right is for the manager to fail to acknowledge the efforts of that person who made that presentation work the way it did.
If you really and truly want a loyal remote team; a team that will always give their all in all the projects they undertake for the benefit of the company and theirs too, you have to appreciate all the work they do openly and reward accordingly. The appreciation or reward can be anything from a card or gift to a bonus check or a handsome commission, but you must make sure it is not irrelevant or inappropriate. Also make sure that everybody knows that you do actually value and reward the efforts and hard work done by any member of your team by doing so in an open manner.
Image: Marina del Castell