Like many kids in small town USA, I had grand visions of growing up to be a cowboy. I wore a pair of hand-me down boots, an over sized belt buckle, and tight Wranglers blue jeans— the whole nine yards. One of the most appealing parts of the mythos of the American cowboy was the idea of “riding for the brand,” or a binding loyalty between a cowboy and his employer.
The concept of loyalty has changed considerably since the days of cattle drives and six shooters. Some regard loyalty as an antiquated concept in today’s modern workforce, however, research and anecdotal evidence suggest loyalty is more important now than ever before. The changing landscape of employment today has resulted in increased difficulty in the forging of this bond in spite of it’s continued importance. It’s not uncommon for an individual to bounce from employer to employer, and even from career to career. One widely circulated statistic indicates the average American will have up to seven different careers in their working life. This trend is particularly apparent in the multifamily housing industry, which is notorious for a migratory work force. What can you as an employer do to instill loyalty in your employees? How do you ensure your employees are “riding for the brand?”
As an employer in the multifamily housing industry, you must develop a “brand” worth riding for, a company culture capable of inspiring a professional’s full efforts rather than simply another short bus stop on the long road of their career. The recipe for such a brand seems simple enough, but if implemented effectively can result in your employees demonstrating real loyalty in their daily actions. The following suggestions are certainly not the only ways to engender loyalty, but have a demonstrated track record of effectively doing so:
- Loyalty– It’s a two way street. The Golden Rule of employment loyalty is this: As you expect your employees to be loyal to you, so you need to be loyal to your employees.
- Values–Establish your brand on a foundation of values.
- Vision– Create a shared vision. People will do amazing things when engaged in a cause they believe in.
- Recognition– You’d be surprised what a simple “thank you” or “job well done” means to someone working long hours.
- Rewards– Compensate your employees appropriately. If they know they will be rewarded for their extra efforts, they will continue to make those efforts.
- Communication– Effective, frequent, honest communication with employees can establish relationships of trust, and trust is the capstone of loyalty.
- Processed Sugars– Never underestimate the power of baked goods.
Ultimately as an employer you must develop a “riding for the brand” culture in order to ensure your employees understand their best interests and those of the company are aligned. Instill in them the knowledge that effort on behalf of one equals benefit for the other. Be the brand worth riding for and your employees will repay you with loyalty, and everyone— you, your residents, and your employees— will reap the dividends.