Business Owners’ Loyalty Nightmare

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Every two years, Walker Information Inc., an Indianapolis pioneer of customer satisfaction and loyalty research, examines the level of loyalty among workers. Its 2007 study signifies a watershed trend: For the first time, the rising number of disloyal employees now overshadows loyal employees.

This is an employer’s nightmare. Walker reports that 34 percent of workers are loyal to their companies, the same as two years ago. At the same time, workers likely to leave a company have risen to 36 percent, from 31 percent two years ago. Walker says that’s the highest level achieved since they started their loyalty studies in 1999.

“Employers are faced with a situation where the number of employees causing a negative drain on the organization outweighs those who are working to positively support it,” says Chris Woolard, senior consultant for Walker. “With more than a third of employees classified as high risk (those likely to leave within two years), the results of our study signal concern as to how the negative attitudes often characteristic of this group will affect organizations.”
Walker reports loyalty has a substantial impact on how employees behave and perform daily. It says that 81 percent of those deemed loyal are likely to execute the company’s strategy, compared to just 38 percent of the high-risk and trapped employee.

The survey finds that loyalty builds within the first 10 years of employment and then begins to spiral downward. The study identified the five most important factors that build loyalty as fairness, care and concern for employees, trust in employees, workers having a feel of accomplishment and day-to-day satisfaction among employees.