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Saturday, April 13, 2024
CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Journal - Why employee loyalty is the new black

CEO Journal

Why employee loyalty is the new black

Roxanne Calder

Shūshin koyō: the Japanese term for lifetime employment. With strong links to company pride, security, family, and loyalty, it is a legacy of the post-war era. As Japan tried to rebuild its devastated economy, the demand for labour skyrocketed. Sound familiar?

Whilst lifetime employment is not an overly Western concept, it was more widely accepted and adopted by our boomer generation. Also attributed to the post-war repercussions and its formidable disruption, holding tight to what was important, family, security, structure and rebuilding communities and let’s not forget the societal shakeup of gender-specific roles.

The disruptor of our era

The pandemic brought the fragility of life, health, and our heart’s priorities onto the big screen. Equally, working from home and remotely blurred many previous well-established boundaries. Children in the background, dogs barking, messy rooms on display and the catch-call daily greeting, ‘can you hear me’, dropping all façades as we merged home and work life.

Flex and understanding to look after and cater to family needs provided a rare insight into other people’s lives. Our vulnerability was exposed and accepted, even for managers and leaders. Only those uncompassionate and bereft of an emotional compass could not be moved by the experiences and times. Stronger relationships were forged, many with unbreakable bonds. Reciprocity, the pandemic’s other ‘r’ word, entered the fray.

Reciprocity

Loyalty and reciprocity came into our work world in ways we hadn’t felt before. We got a taste for it, what it felt like to belong and the psychological attachment. Outside of work life, reciprocity is almost an automatic reaction, a moral imperative, founded on social expectations that good deeds should be repaid.

Holding tight to reciprocity in personal relationships, it’s a given human norm, an inbuilt basic instinct and how we deeply desire to operate. We all love to receive it and feel good when we give it. Now we have it in our work lives as well, a mutual exchange of respect, appreciation, and trust.

Through thick and thin, just as we experienced during the pandemic, its actions speak louder than words. 49% of employees who felt their workplace dealt with the pandemic well wanted to remain for working for the same employer for more than 10 years.

Thick and thin

The Japanese have this down pat. Their lifetime employment is not a guised gesture, a one-sided strategy but a cultural key benefiting the wider group, family, and society. The ideology: an employee stays with the company through to retirement. In return for loyalty, the employer takes care of its employees in good and bad times.

The Japanese labour market has adjusted since post-war time, but lifetime employment still plays a role. As does the value of loyalty on all fronts; family, school, university, and the company you work for, they all remain a prevalent ingrained cultural norm and societal imperative. The payback for Japan, during the great resignation; their workforce chartered a very different course with fewer people than ever moving jobs.

Our great resignation charter 

There is no discounting 2022’s high job mobility rates. Mostly it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we were the co-conspirators. Bandying the term as a proclamation, we made sure to assert the great resignation, as an external condition, out of our control and an affliction to us all.

Organisationally lazy, our memory was short. Instead of focusing on the privileged employee relations already forged and founded, we scurried and surreptitiously gathered all we could to join the collective offerings. Perks, incentives, and any token to sway someone else’s employee. We fed the beast, named it entitled and lamented why retention and recruitment were suddenly so tough.

The heightened resignations were less a reflection on employee loyalty and more about human temptation, the paradox of choice and businesses’ own contribution. For all the job mobility statistics,  40% of those who changed jobs felt they were better off in their previous positions and 20% returned to their old roles.

Loyalty is good for us and for business. Employee loyalty creates economic value, a competitive edge and has a significant positive and sometimes very sizeable impact on financial performance and operational excellence. It is the new black, a positive feature and a decadent gift from this generation’s disruptor. The great resignation, well, that was just a blip, reminding us never to forget the reciprocal precious and privileged value of the employer/ employee relationship.


Authored by Roxanne Calder.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Journal - Why employee loyalty is the new black
Roxanne Calder
Roxanne Calder, the author of ‘Employable – 7 Attributes to Assuring Your Working Future’ (Major Street $29.95), is the founder and managing director of EST10 – one of Sydney’s most successful administration recruitment agencies. Roxanne is passionate about uncovering people’s potential and watching their careers soar.


Roxanne Calder is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn.