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New norm, new loyalty (Part 1)

In business today, decision-makers face big challenges. This is nothing new, managers are constantly dragged down by the situations they have to deal with, and the pandemic of the last two years has made this even more intense. Every era has its own areas of leadership that a general manager needs to be better at to be truly successful. Well, for the coming years, HR is certainly the segment where a top decision-maker needs to be able to go the extra mile. However, it is a particularly interesting topic to see what are the current challenges within the HR field, which are very broad in scope, and that need special attention to achieve and maintain company success. According to perfectly unanimous opinions, loyalty is the first on the imaginary list. So, to translate this reasoning, if a leader wants to be successful today, he or she must know all about loyalty!

Loyalty to someone, to something

This is the most important rule when talking about loyalty. If only because a drastic majority of HR professionals still fall into this mistake to this day. They overestimate the amount of time spent in one place, in one job, and often draw very wrong conclusions based on this data. In order to understand loyalty, we need to understand that, like any other human trait, it is interpreted in completely different ways by different people. It is no coincidence that more and more people are using very sophisticated personality and behavioural analysis systems, because if you don’t know your own employees, there is only one worst-case scenario: if you know them wrongly and thus misinterprets their actions. Because loyalty itself is an interesting concept in its very focus. To whom and to what are we loyal? This is the first question we need to ask, since this direction already changes from time to time. The last decade or so has clearly pushed loyalty in the direction of ‘to whom’, i.e. we are loyal to people. Now, obviously, many people shrug their shoulders that obviously, but it wasn’t always so clear-cut. Take sport, for example. Perhaps the best example is the NBA, or even the premier league, but I could go on and on about the big national leagues where the fan base passes on loyalty to the team from generation to generation. If one is born a Chicago Bulls fan, then very big things have to happen to “leave the team”. So basically, the loyalty to the team was very high, and in fact, used to be a unique module. But if we look at the situation today, for example, how much the proportion of young Barcelona-Paris Saint-German fans has changed, we would be shocked to see how many have left their beloved club. Obviously, those in the know are well aware that ‘nothing’ special has happened, just a player has moved from one team to another. Oh, that player was Messi. It looks like it meant something after all. There was a significant change in the attachment rate to the team or the players. The same process, if not as spectacular, can be seen in business, and when added to the same generational trend, the data is even more impressive. It is clear to say that today, a fresh graduate looks not at the company but at the people who work there, and decides whether to vote confidence in the company on that basis. In this competition, smaller companies with great potential have a big advantage over the big mammoth companies that, say, twenty years ago easily took the best talent, giving local companies no chance. We know that if the grey matter grows in a company, sooner or later, the company itself will grow. And so it has, and in many cases, it is the multinationals that now want to copy the culture and recipes for success of smaller companies, especially in the field of HR. And rightly so! Loyalty goes hand in hand with loyalty, and this should not be forgotten. Employees stick with someone; that’s why they stay in a particular work environment. It’s still just a question of ‘who’ they stick to, ‘what’ they stick to is another topic again. During the pandemic, the vast majority of firms failed – and will continue to fail in the post-Covid period – because they cannot attract colleagues to whom good workers will stick. In other words, those who have no other options in the labour market will stay with the company. In fact, in most cases, the workers who have already left are those who had no real choice between better and better solutions. There is no need to be offended by this; no matter how nice a CV looks, you have to look behind it. And HR professionals should not be blind to this either, because nowadays, being with a company for a long time has little to do with loyalty in some cases. After all, you have already joined a company because your skills were such that you did not get a better offer – you have come to accept this – and then you are stuck in the same environment. And since his ‘loyalty’ is celebrated, why should he move? Sometimes they make a run for it, but quickly lose momentum after they get their first slap in the face. Now, during the pandemic period, headhunters have encountered a lot of these types of applicants. With needs completely divorced from reality, no real desire to change, inadequate marketable skills, but trying to change. They failed. They were left with a “loyal workforce”.