The loyalty lag

Edward Prewitt

Employees who stay put should not be confused with those who stay loyal, according to a new study of worker attitudes in business, non-profit and government organizations.

Walker Information, a research company specializing in loyalty and satisfaction measurements, released a workplace loyalty report last month. The study distinguishes the “truly loyal” employees from those who stick around only until a better job comes along or those workers who feel trapped in their jobs.

Truly loyal workers will go the extra mile to delight customers and are highly motivated in their work. These employees would also resist offers of other jobs and would recommend their companies to potential employees. But only 30 per cent of respondents met the criteria.

Even so, Marc Drizin, a vice-president at Walker and the company’s loyalty specialist, finds this percentage surprisingly high, especially in light of the recession. His explanation is that employees who have lasted through layoffs sometimes feel gratitude and obligation toward their companies.

On the other side of the coin, 34 per cent of respondents were classified as “high risk” – they were neither committed to their work nor planning to stay with the company for the next two years – and another 31 per cent qualified as “trapped,” meaning not attached to their work or employer but without prospects for other jobs.