Staff loyalty takes on new meaning

Staff loyalty takes on new meaning

SINGAPORE - These days, as employees become less averse to switching jobs, staff loyalty is often considered by companies as a quality of a bygone era.

Indeed, ask any employer and one would almost be certain to hear gripes about the traits peculiar to the younger generation of workers: They have a seemingly innate sense of entitlement and confidence, they often question the status quo and are very focused on their individual career needs.

But rather than simply blaming the situation on the "more difficult to handle" nature of the new breed of workers, human-resource experts urge employers to look at loyalty as a two-way street.

Mr Josh Goh, assistant director of corporate services at HR consultancy The GMP Group, noted that in the past, employers would retain staff even when they were facing tough times.

"Retrenchment was hardly practised then, unless the company folded. But this has changed over the past few financial crises," he said. "As redundancy becomes more common, there is scepticism on whether one's loyalty will truly ensure one's employment with the organisation."

He added: "This has bred a new generation of workers who view the employer- employee relationship as nothing more than a commercial one."

Ms Jacqueline Gwee, director of aAdvantage Consulting, said that firms today should, perhaps, rethink how they define staff loyalty.

It should no longer revolve around how long employees stay with a company, but whether they become advocates who would speak positively of the firm even after they leave, she said.

"Employers need to engage their staff effectively and provide for both their professional and personal development, so that they are proud to have been part of the firm," said Ms Gwee. "This could also motivate them to stay on with the firm for a longer period."

It is crucial for employers to understand what spurs individual employees, and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, she added.

City Gas is one company that has achieved much success in building loyalty among its employees over the years.

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