Half of Managers Believe Employee Loyalty Has Fallen in Last Five Years, Survey Says

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By Genevieve Douglas

Jan. 7 — Slightly more than half (52 percent) of employers view their workers as less loyal than five years ago, while only 11 percent view employees as more loyal, according to a survey released Jan. 6 by the American Management Association.

Respondents to the survey stated that declining employee loyalty harms organizations by causing low morale (84 percent), high turnover (80 percent), disengagement (80 percent), growing distrust (76 percent) and lack of team spirit (73 percent).

Despite the negative effects, 56 percent of employers also report that promoting employee loyalty is not a major focus of their organization, but is valued nonetheless.

According to AMA, devoted employees know the business and focus on the job, and there is less alienation and more engagement among loyal workers.

Furthermore, one-third of surveyed senior leaders said they believe employee loyalty has a direct relationship to profits, AMA reported.

Sam Davis, vice president of AMA’s customized consulting solutions, told Bloomberg BNA in a Jan. 7 interview that in order to foster greater employee loyalty, HR should emphasize the value of ongoing development programs and continuous learning opportunities, and focus on helping supervisors understand how to effectively communicate with employees and give them clear objectives for success.

Developing a productive manager/employee relationship is a great way to foster loyalty, Davis said. “Managers should engage employees in decisions about their work and give input into the how, why and what they do,” he said. “This will go a long way to help employees to become more personally invested, interested in the outcome and intrinsically rewarded by their work.”

Less Loyalty at Large Companies

AMA found that the perceived decline in loyalty is even more pronounced at large organizations. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of respondents at companies with more than 1,000 employees consider employees to be less loyal than five years ago, compared to 44 percent of respondents with fewer than 1,000 employees.

The survey's 1,213 respondents included senior-level business, human resources and management professionals, and employees drawn from the AMA database.

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at gdouglas@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at snadel@bna.com