Leadership = Loyalty = Longevity

What do companies have to do to engender loyalty? Maybe that's just an obsolete concept.

Ask anyone in their 60s or 70s how many companies they worked for throughout their career and chances are the answer will be one or two. Mostly lifers. Ask the same question to a 40-something or younger person, and the majority will probably be on five plus. (And counting). There are many reasons for this (lost the ‘job for life’ mentality, less concerned with job security, more opportunities as a result of new technologies, less employee loyalty). I could go on, but that’s not the focus of this discussion.

Instead, consider the handful of companies who have managed to turn this phenomenon on its head. Fortune magazine recently published its annual list of the 100 best companies to work for. And it shows that employee longevity and loyalty do still exist. So what do these businesses do to nurture it?

Top of the list (for the 6th year running) is Google. (Put aside for a moment the thought about what they are doing with all our data and where that’s going to end up). When you take a closer look at the company, it’s not that hard to see why their approach works. And I’m not even talking about free gourmet food or laundry services. It’s more about their leadership team listening. Like when they decided to boost parental leave policies after finding that mothers were leaving at higher rates. Support for transgender workers and unconscious bias workshops no doubt also make Google a highly unique and inclusive place to work.

Another company that has been a longstanding member of the list is investment firm Baird. Aside from anything else, any firm that is bold enough to have an NAR (No Asshole Rule) makes the list in my book. President and CEO Robert Baird defines it like this, “My definition of an asshole is anybody who puts themselves in front of the client or in front of their partners …one of the best parts of our firm is that we don’t tolerate people who are not team players.” Baird is privately owned and two-thirds of employees are shareholders.

At Salesforce, CEO Marc Benioff is lauded by employees for the way he leads by example when it comes to diversity and making the world better. They donate subscriptions for their technology to non-profit organisations and give employees seven days off each year to volunteer. Some of the more unusual perks at companies on the list include:

• Hilton hotel group offers up to $10,000 reimbursement for adoption.

• Kimpton Hotels and restaurants allows staff to bring dogs to work.

• Data analytics firm SAS offers childcare and… well, does it even need to offer anything else? Well incidentally it also offers dry cleaning, haircuts and an on-site pharmacy.

There are countless examples. Some of course, will sound too corporate and the reality will be different. But a lot of the companies that are on this list will adhere to their principles and will truly want employees to view their workplace as somewhere they can be personally fulfilled. And above all, what they have in common is that they have principled, effective leadership who are driving change and providing opportunities for advancement. Are you one of those?


For more on how senior leadership are adapting to change and current challenges, take a look at our industry wide summits at https://gdsgroup.com/.

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