We are amidst the Chinese New Year Festival and 2018 being the year of the Dog, the concept of loyalty is on the table. But does loyalty still have a place in the modern world? Has it not become a sign of complacency and of being unassertive?
Loyalty used to be one of the core values for being a good employee, friend, partner… It still is, but what is understood with the term might not be the same as what it meant to older generations. It seems that the definition of loyalty might have changed.
Complaining about the work ethic of Millennials has become fashionable and one of the serious criticisms is about a lack of loyalty. Not only are Millennials three times more likely to change jobs, they are more casual and value a balance between work and personal life. Millennials deem themselves to be loyal, but the loyalty pertains to the job at hand. “The mentality is, ‘You pay me to do X, I do X, and we are even.’ Whether the next step comes from within their current organization or they have to make a move, they have fulfilled their obligation and were loyal in doing so. Hence, whether one works for a company 10 years or 10 months, they consider that loyal.” (Read more about The new Reality of Employee Loyalty)
Being a loyal employee in the traditional sense of the word might have implied having the dog mentality of unconditional faithfulness. This is not true for the new understanding of the word. In return for loyalty, the Millennial worker asks for respect and involvement. They want to be part of the bigger plan and responsibilities. (Read more about Millennials, Loyalty, and Corporate Culture)
Whether we agree with this new perception of loyalty or not, it can be a good thing in the way that it expects better engagement and more responsibility. “Without engaged employees, companies flounder, not flourish, says Atle Erlingsson, Head of Communications, SAP North America.” (Read more)
Is this different for brand loyalty? At the Vinpro wine industry information day earlier this year, Wine Intelligence’s Lulie Halstead shared sobering statistics about brand recognition. If brand recognition is such a challenge, how can we even begin to talk about brand loyalty?
But again, we need to look at these concepts in a new light. Also for brand loyalty, the definition has changed. As with the Millennial who expects involvement and recognition in return for being a ‘loyal’ employee, today’s customers expect their needs to be recognised and for brands to involve them.
As per an earlier blog, the customer has become your new partner in business. When you manage to get this type of involvement from customers, loyalty will follow. But even then we have to persist in seeing loyalty in its new context. No longer is loyalty unconditional. To maintain it, employers, businesses and brands have to continuously evaluate customer opinion and ensure a strategy that involves them and make them feel part of the brand.