Many traditional public relations and social media agencies don’t invest in their employees. They have what I call a “burnout culture” devoid of longevity or loyalty. Bring in young workers, burn them out, and cast them off. Bring in the next group. Repeat.
That method might benefit the bottom line when business is booming, but how does it hold up in a crisis when company loyalty becomes the glue holding things together?
If you invest in your employees during the long haul, you can expect that they’ll return the love when things get dicey. Here’s how:
Remember, Loyalty Is a Two-Way Street
Too many small businesses claim they put people first and promote work-life balance, but then offer bare minimum bereavement, sick leave, and inflexible or nonexistent parental leave policies.
If you want to attract and retain loyal staff, treat them the way you’d like to be treated. But how do you provide the benefits, compensation, and high levels of flexibility that employees value without getting taken advantage of? It doesn’t just happen randomly. You have to carefully hire people who you know are responsible adults and who won’t take advantage of flexible policies.
You also have to lead by example. Set the tone for all employees to follow, showing that you support true work/life balance. If an employee needs time and space to mourn a loved one or a working parent needs a combination of flexible options after returning from parental leave, find ways to balance the workload amongst the entire team, which might include yourself. When employees know they’re supported, they go the extra mile in return.
Loyal Staff Foster Loyal Clients
When your staff is loyal, you retain long-term employees and high levels of expertise. That expertise is crucial to a client’s trust in your work. You can’t overestimate how important trust and continuing long-term relationships are when things get bumpy. When you’re in danger of losing clients, strong relationships keep them on board long enough for you to make adjustments to provide the next outstanding campaign, product launch, or service.
Support Employee Causes
This one isn’t as obvious, but investing in employees also means supporting causes that they care about. Numerous studies show that companies with socially conscious strategies are more profitable. 77% of consumers are more motivated to purchase from companies committed to making the world better.
Give a small percent of your profits annually to charities chosen by your employees and provide in-service days to support their favorite causes. When employees share a mission of giving back, it strengthens company loyalty and attracts new employees and clients who have similar values.
Many lessons come out of shared experiences in crisis. One that will resonate with the COVID-19 pandemic is how fragile our economic powerhouse really is and that taking care of our employees and our communities is paramount to our shared success.