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AMA Research: How Loyal Are Employees?

June 18, 2015

are employees still loyal

Are companies doing enough to keep their employees happy and engaged? Recent AMA research shows many companies are not hitting the mark. In a study of respondents consisting of 1,213 senior level business, human resources, and management professionals and employees drawn from the AMA database of contacts, AMA uncovered results that should set off alarms in companies everywhere. Here are the results:

More than half of all managers (52%) consider their employees less loyal than five years ago. Thirty-seven percent perceive employees to be about the same as five years ago. And only 11% view employees as more loyal.

In your opinion, how loyal are your employees to the organization compared to five years ago?
  • Less loyal: 52%
  • About the same: 37%
  • More loyal: 11%

This trend is even more pronounced among organizations with more than 1,000 employees. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (61%) at large organizations consider employees to be less loyal than five years ago compared to 44% of respondents with fewer than 1,000 employees.

“It seems employee loyalty has declined sharply in recent years among large North American organizations,” said Sam Davis, vice president of AMA’s customized consulting solutions. “Yet, understandably, given the stakes, many organizations still seek to make employee loyalty a core part of their culture. When presented in terms of whether or not loyalty is a ‘major focus,’ even more companies indicate they value loyalty.”

In reality, is promoting employee loyalty a major focus at your organization?
  • Yes: 20%
  • No, not a major focus, but valued nevertheless: 56%
  • No, it was never valued nor a major focus: 24%

“There are many reasons why loyalty remains a core value at many organizations,” advised Davis. “Devoted employees know the business and focus on the job. There’s less alienation and more engagement. It aids people at all levels, because loyal employees work with the best interests of the organization in mind and help protect the team. Conversely, lack of loyalty can infect an entire enterprise and foster increased absenteeism and turnover.”

Other highlights from the survey findings include:

  • Declining employee loyalty is thought to harm organizations by causing low morale (84%), high turnover (80%), disengagement (80%), growing distrust (76%), and lack of team spirit (73%).
  • One-third (33%) of senior leaders believe employee loyalty has a direct relationship to profits.

Developing a productive manager/employee relationship is the best way to foster loyalty, according to Davis. “Employees first need their basic needs met, such as fair compensation, a safe and non-toxic work environment, as well as opportunities for career development. Coaching, job skills training, and learning opportunities show that the company is serious enough about employees to invest in their future. Managers should engage employees in decisions about their work and give input into the how, why, and what they do. This will go a long way to help employees become more personally invested, interested in the outcome, and intrinsically rewarded by their work.”

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Are you doing enough as a manager to keep your employees happy? Learn all the management tools you need with these AMA resources and seminars:
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American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—“learning through doing”—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.

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