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Genuine Loyalty.

Writing this article will be very tricky. On one hand, I want to share my observations however on the other, my intention is not to shame anyone or to give the impression that I or anyone else is perfect. We all do things for a reason and need the support of others to feel loved and needed. I do however work with clients on this topic and am ready now to share what I have learned.

I do not accept the word loyalty without an accompanying word associated with it. Loyalty means nothing to me in the single form and I believe that loyalty shown towards organizations by individuals and vice versa is ill-advised unless associated with greater meaning or value. In my career, I have helped solution customer loyalty systems for some of the largest brands out there. These are created to engage consumers with brands and ensure that they continue to invest and spend their time and hard-earned money. You may think that experience with these types of systems will help determine what interpersonal relationships are associated with loyalty, this is not actually the case and I see very little overlap here.

Genuine loyalty is when you perform an action that can be either pre-meditated or not and you want to do it. Examples of this are supporting a friend or family member no matter what or promoting your organization on social media where you want to share important information. Genuine is key here. The word loyalty means absolutely nothing without it. It can provide some short to medium happiness, and contentment of success to you however it will eventually let you down and you will wonder why you invested so much time in it.

Now comes the tricky piece that I mentioned at the start. I need to point out that when perceived loyalty is shown outwardly, it is not genuine in some cases. We are surrounded by it however the great news is that most of us have friends and family who care for us and that is all that matters. The rest is noise and can be seen as exactly that, nothing more, nothing less.

We have all seen people who share generic posts regarding their organization. They post so many things that it is hard to keep up. You can identify these posts as they receive a low level of engagement and are very generic in nature. They are likely copied and pasted from a communication from the marketing team and the poster may not even read what it is about. These interactions are made by the person to show a form of loyalty towards their organization and gain traction. That is what I thought until recently!

I conducted a small research poll (5 people - I know not substantial enough to create a meaningful trend however can provide some insights) and learned that 60% of them posted in the hope that a recruiter would see their post or receive it in a report and reach out to them. The remaining 40% was split between wanting to be seen to support the organization and a genuine appreciation of the organization and sharing the feel-good factors. Even though a small poll here, it is concerning that more people were doing it for other reasons rather than a genuine loyalty towards the organization they work for. To take it a step further, I meet people all the time who get let go by companies. What a sickener - spending so much time promoting the organization and then getting let down. Is it a letdown if both parties were showing loyalty towards each other without any associated wording like "genuine"? This is a business transaction where the employee works, the organization pays their salary and there is seemed loyalty shown on both sides. I will leave that question with you to decide and if you have experienced this.

I have seen communications regarding the fantastic work that organizations do, showcasing the work and talent of their employees and pride in what gets achieved. This is awesome and is to be cherished and shared. It can be extremely gratifying when you are part of something bigger and are giving rather than receiving. Having this as part of your career strategy can only aid your growth and development. Organizations also can learn and adapt to demonstrate genuine loyalty and happy employees, making more satisfied customers - increasing revenues and satisfaction. I enjoy working with organizations on utilizing their exceptional qualities and linking these to the values and needs of their employees.

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full type of person? When you meet new people, do you start off at 100% with them or do they need to build up trust? We are all different when considering answers to these questions. I believe that genuine loyalty starts at 0% and you build it up when it comes to employees and organizations. There is the overarching loyalty (which some may say is not real) shown at 100% from the start however for it to be genuine, both entities need to work at it. This is why organizations lay people off and move on quickly while others that show genuine loyalty, provide solutions in time of need. It also applies when high-performing employees leave for another organization despite a lot of time and effort being invested in their enablement.

In conclusion, the word loyalty shown by itself will only get you so far. Associating another attribute to it such as genuine will let you further on your journey and bring you more contentment. Continue to show empathy towards others as they follow travel along their path. There is no right way or wrong way to do things. Follow your gut and try to show awareness when it comes to loyalty. Work on building and increasing that genuine loyalty with organizations and people.


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