Employers everywhere continue to discuss how employee loyalty towards their companies has changed over the years. Many feel that employee loyalty simply doesn't exist anymore. And, it makes them mad.
This New York Times article tried to offer a new twist on this topic by asking the question: Should loyalty be redefined? Although the headline is catchy, this article offers almost no new insights. Instead, it focuses on many redundant topics that we already know and have heard dozens of times.
For example, we know that loyalties are completely different now versus during the 1950s when an employee could be assured of a job and career for life. Now, there is no real job security beyond feeling that most employers still reward based on merit and real results. Meaning: Do great work and you'll probably still have a job (and may just be promoted as well).
We also know that the Baby Boomers have had the toughest time acclimating to this new reality. The article interviews a number of experts (and Boomers) who feel compelled to tell us just how difficult life is as they've been forced to move from job to job over the last few recessionary years. Nothing new there. Once a person in his/her 50s or 60s loses a job, it can be incredibly difficult. Age matters to most and that's a tough pill to swallow.
Perhaps the point that I'm most sick of reading about though is that this new group of Generation Y workers simply have no interest in being loyal to any employer. These young 20-something new entrants to our workforce are accused of generally having few corporate loyalties, little patience and a tendency to complain about too much work on their plate.
This article tries to redefine loyalty about the Millennials focusing on how they are more faithful to their teams, co-workers, clients and even causes versus the employers they earn a paycheck from. It also highlights how these employees now move quicker from job to job because very few loyalties ever exist.
I can't say that this point isn't true (I've seen it at my own company). But, I also believe that ever since I've been in the workforce (that's more than 20 years), employees have jumped from one company’s cubicle to another. And, it's because many of the same reasons remain consistently true: more money, better opportunities and a lack of interest or challenge in one's current job.
Sure, maybe it's even worse now. But, one thing hasn't changed and this New York Times reporter failed to capture it. Not sure a new definition of loyalty even matters. What's more relevant is whether employers are making sure that employees are really challenged in their jobs. On top of that, it's how they demonstrate growth paths, as well as financial rewards for them so they won't be tempted to leave.
Be it now or 20 years ago, that's what most employees care about. And, while each new generation might be apt to quit their job for another a little quicker than the last, employers can still keep most of their best performers longer by creating fulfillment at work that they can't easily find elsewhere.