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Employee Loyalty is Overrated

I have a problem with everything that is only viewed from one angle because everything has its pros and cons, and when we make a decision, that's what we need to look at, and loyalty is no different. However, we never hear the cons of loyalty, which made me think...

First, loyalty has changed, so we need to align ourselves with it. Secondly, was there really ever a time when people felt loyal to their employers? And is loyalty actually what you’re looking for? In this article, I use loyalty within the context of staying with the same company to see if this is really what we are looking for.

Maybe the damage it does outweighs the pros (which we all know what those are), and we don't even think about it. So let's look at it from the employees' and employers' point of view.


  • It can hurt your career by slowing your growth or keeping you on a predefined path. I have always been proud to say I didn't have regrets until last year. I deeply regret staying with one company for 16 years. Do I love Accor? With all my heart. They allowed me to grow, move to different countries, and do whatever I wanted, yet I feel that staying that long slowed me down. It did suit me though, as that is my nature: loyalty and steady growth. Yet I cannot shake the feeling that I should have seen more than just hospitality. So I am doing it now.

  • It can keep you miserable under false belief. You have no idea how many GMs I know who are miserable, don't want to do the job or are fed up with their companies, but at the same time, they say, "Here, I have seniority in length of service." When I ask them what it means, the answer is nothing. Length of service has no leverage. This is an idea that people live by, and they would rather be miserable than admit that their loyalty gives them nothing. These GMs are treated as everyone else.

  • Your salary growth will be slow. It is a fact look at the statistics.

  • Your knowledge, skills, and ways of thinking will be stagnant. Staying in the same place means you know everything inside out. There are no new things, new practices, or skills to learn. Yes, you will be learning, but it will be more like adapting than learning because you know the system.

  • You will develop a tunnel vision. That homogeneous environment will lock you in, and you will not see the millions of opportunities outside your organisation. In the past nine months after leaving the hotel industry, I started to see a whole new world that I knew nothing about. When somebody tells you, "You will not find anything better", "You will ruin your career if you leave us", or "You know we will promote you in the future at some point...." and you believe it, RUN! You are in the tunnel.


  • Inbred competence. The lack of fresh ideas, perspectives, skills, and knowledge will maintain the status quo, and you will lose out to your competitors. Loyalty, especially at the strategic level, can be dangerous to growth, innovation, and change in business direction. It also goes against your diversity slogans:-))))

  • You can reward something that is not valuable to the company. Companies only want loyalty when they cannot measure the person's contribution to the organisation's success. Ask yourself what values has the person serving here in the past 25 years been bringing to the company. Sometimes, the answer is not much (low performance), yet the message you go out with is wanting and rewarding loyalty. Sometimes loyalty looks like this: Long tenure and no contribution. Is this what we want? We all have those colleagues we can't wait to retire. They are not there because they are loyal, they are there out of incompetence. Nobody else hires them.

  • You are blocking your talent pipeline, losing talent & money. Turnover is great because it allows you to bring in the talent and skills the company needs. Nothing is worse than losing talent because you cannot put them in the right position. Compare that monetary value with your recruitment cost, and you will see where you are bleeding money. You lose money on not having the necessary skills, knowledge, and talent, not on recruitment.

So yes, the benefits of loyalty are not as straightforward as we were told. Hire from different industries, bring in fresh perspectives and skills and move your people around. It may go against what you believe and have been told all this time, but this is where your success is.

If you want to figure out a better way to manage your people management practices, give us a shout:

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