Millennials may have a reputation for job-hopping but that doesn’t mean they’re disloyal – in fact, one Silicon Valley CEO says an employee can remain committed to your company for their entire life, even if they’ve only worked for you a few short years.
“Employee loyalty isn’t dead, it just looks different,” says Lee Caraher, CEO of San Francisco-based Double Forte. “If we only think about employee loyalty as when we pay them, that’s not actually being loyal and it’s very short sighted.”
Instead of thinking employees can only be loyal when they’re with your organization, Caraher says companies need to realize staff loyalty can last a lifetime – that means the worker may continue as an advocate, return as a client or even boomerang back as a new employee in a different position.
“The old paradigm of loyalty is no longer relevant and our job is to have a sustainable business,” says Caraher. “The larger your cohort of advocates and admirers is in the marketplace, the better off you are and if former employees can be that first line of defence, you will have a strategic advantage over anybody.”
So how can organizations encourage long-lasting loyalty once an employee has left the workforce? According to Caraher, alumni programs keep staff connected with a company as does offering incentives if they refer a successful new recruit.
“When former employees refer someone who we hire, we send those people a cheque,” says Caraher. “It’s the same cheque we give current employees because anytime you’re shortening recruitment by having someone be your advocate in the world, you should pay that person their weight in gold.”
For alumni programs, Caraher says they can be anything from a private Facebook
group and a couple of gatherings a year, to a comprehensive network with dedicated training programs.
“You don’t have to have a lot of money, you don’t have to have a lot of people but you can start an alumni program today which can be very valuable for you and your people,” she tells HRM.