Loyalty isn't dead, but employers have to earn it
Most employees still think company loyalty is alive and well, writes Fortune's Anne Fisher in her January 16 Ask Annie column. Do you believe employee loyalty still exists? Are you loyal to your employer? Does your employer take steps to retain employee loyalty?
Posted by Karen Pantelides 12:44 PM 42 Comments comment | Add a Comment

I believe Loyalty is earned and my current employer has earned it. As a single dad flexable work hours are the key. I have turned down several offers based on this one perk
Posted By Bill Boston, Ma. : Tue Jan 16, 01:20:15 PM  

It's very demoralizing to hear how some young people consider themselves loyal while knowing that they will resign at some point in the near future. Loyalty has always been defined as a long-term commitment. I suspect these are the same people who will divorced multiple times in their lives.
Posted By Mike, Ft. Lauderdale FL : Tue Jan 16, 01:21:43 PM  

You are as loyal to your company as the company is loyal to its employees. Unfortunately, the inequity I have witnessed is employees being too loyal to the company.
Posted By Fred, Ft. Myers FL : Tue Jan 16, 01:30:19 PM  

I believe company loyalty depends on the company. You are going to get those employees who will **NEVER** leave to those that always have "around the corner syndrome". My wife and I both were loyal to our previous companies. I was shown the door after six years of hard work. Not to say I wasn't well compensated and rewarded for my work. However the vast majority of that had to do with my supervisor not the company. I even went as far to ask HR to adopt more progressive policies such as telecommuting and vacation accrual. I was told they will look into it and nothing was done. So like the article says you want to keep turn-over down...make your place a great place to work.
Posted By Bill Cleveland, Ohio : Tue Jan 16, 01:40:18 PM  

I think people are setting a pathetically low bar by saying that they are loyal while they are at the company, but think nothing of leaving that company for a higher salary or better position. While it is perfectly easy to be loyal when things are going great, it's only when things are tough that the word loyalty has any real meaning.

No I am not saying that employees should always stick it out when things are tough, because an employer-employee relationship is a two-way street that has to work for both parties. Just don't confuse loyalty (sticking by someone through thick and thin) with meeting the expectations of your job (work hard, speak well of the company, etc.).

A sports analogy is changing your favorite team every week to whoever is winning - as long as you are an advocate for them and speak well of them and watch all the games, then you are being loyal!
Posted By Doug, Chicago, IL : Tue Jan 16, 01:47:44 PM  

I believe loyalty must be a two-way street; companies must be loyal to their workers to have their workers be loyal to them and visa-versa. Each company and each individual has a different viewpoint of what that is. Regardless of individual and/or company expectations, the Golden Rule applies.
Posted By Allisa, Lawrence KS : Tue Jan 16, 02:44:24 PM  

Company loyalty should not be defined by how hard I'm working for my company today even though tomorow I might be gone. That is simply taking disloyalty and re-defining it. I think loyalty is related to longterm commitment, like marriage. Working hard is related to performance, not loyalty. Employers expect high performance and rightly so; they wish they had employee loyalty because a revolving door hurts continuity. I know that my pride in my employer has diminished as perks were reduced or became more complex to use, as fewer resources are available to do the work, and as the employer would rather hire someone from outside than develop someone from within. Maybe, new employees don't understand that because they were not here to see what it used to be like.
Posted By Darryl, Baton Rouge, LA : Tue Jan 16, 04:39:05 PM  

I believe it does exist it depends on the company you work for. But keep in mind that companies main purpose is to make money and they will do whatever it takes to make it. Even when it cost jobs to there hard working employees.
Posted By Nick, Fresno,CA : Tue Jan 16, 04:47:15 PM  

The majority of people are honest, herd working, concientious individuals. They are also by nature loyal. In my experience the employer-employee loyalty bond is more often than not breached by the employer. Yes, productivity increase are required to reamin profitable and competitive, but employers often forget to take care of the asset that produces productivity.
Posted By HDB, Minneapolis, MN : Tue Jan 16, 05:02:04 PM  

For all practical purposes I beleive it is dead. They will lay you off simply to improve the bottom line even if they are making a profit. All that matters is money not people. I have no loyalty to my company but that does not mean I do a bad job. I do my job to the best of my ability and would do nothing to hurt my employer. Everyone loves me here and I am called over other technical support people because of my ability to deal with people and not make them feel like an idiot because they do not understand something. That and 3 dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks as my company does not care. They have lost the ability to understand that I can do my job at 30% and keep them happy or I could do it at 90% for the same pay. It is there attitude that determines mine, they get what they give.
Posted By James, Houston, Texas : Tue Jan 16, 05:09:16 PM  

Loyalty is dead, buried, and gone. My previous employer of 16 years tossed me and thousands of others onto the street. I expected to retire from that company, and it took me a year and a half to find another decent job. My self-esteem was damaged forever.

Employers almost always have the upper hand over employees. Rarely will you see enough people resign from a company closely enough together to hurt its business, but companies think nothing of terminating thousands at a time when it suits their purposes.

I try my best to do a good job for my present employer, but I would have no qualms about jumping ship if something better for me should come along. Companied do *not* care for their employees and feel justified in treating them poorly because "it's business."
Posted By Mike, Midland, MI : Tue Jan 16, 09:16:44 PM  

The companies of today are bottom line oriented and don't realize that it's the employees on the lower level that make the bottom line.
Posted By P Houston Texas : Tue Jan 16, 10:19:11 PM  

Our company stood up a new sector in 2006. In our first year, our sector had 14% growth. We received revenue sharing of approximately 1 week's pay per employee. As a reward, the company's leadership has asked us to work harder and more productively, setting a target goal of 20% growth in 2007. The leadership, however, did not mention termination of revenue sharing until specifically asked. Perhaps that's leadership's idea of rewarding loyalty for the extra work that is requested this year.
Posted By Norbert Grummen, Sierra Vista, AZ : Wed Jan 17, 02:27:01 AM  

Folks....Please, look up the definition of loyalty and follow the other words that describe it. I think we've gotten off course here. Loyalty applies during your tenure with a company. As with anything, when loyalty starts to wane (on either side), it is time to part company. As for the state of loyalty in companies today, it really depends on the sector, industry, type and size of company you are in. For instance, in my industry, the management talk a good game but very rarely (if ever) follow their preachings. The good news is that new blood is starting to work its way into that management and, probably in the next 10 to 20 years, it will slowly start to change. Yes, I am always looking to move out of the industry and into a good company that values loyalty. However, it is easier said than done. Doesn't stop me, but drives me. Onward and upward!
Posted By Gary, Miami Florida : Wed Jan 17, 08:55:55 AM  

You get what you pay for. I'm a retail clerk and again we are going through new contract negotiations. Our Union no longer serves us but the employer. Our employers want to pay the least and give the least and the unions are happy to oblige. No longer are the Unions or the Supermarkets caring about their employees. It USED to be a good job and people were always trying to find an opening to get in. This is no longer a fact. Everyone is leaving and the replacements are few and VERY uneducated. As the wages go down, the personel become barely literate. These bring more problems for the employer since the newbies make many more mistakes. They also aren't loyal and are looking for easier and better paying jobs EVERY DAY! None of the new two tier (less paid) workers last more than 3 months. By the time they are trained they leave just wasting the people who train them, IF they are trained at all. Training has gotten to be a waste of time since they quit so often so more employers are "throwing them to the wolves" meaning just put them out there and they will figure it out as they work. Well. now they are putting 6-packs on tomatoes hot food with icecream, bug spray with lettuce and so on. They drop the perfect mangoes and apples in to the bag thus bruising all that made it there so far unblemished! Do they care? Hell no! The Unions are no longer fighting for the loyal 30 year clerks that are more educated and business savy. They figure we are the dinosaurs that are overpaid so they only negotiate for the newbies who make half as much. There is a lot of room for wage hikes for those that are making nothing! Whereas we long time clerks are deemed lucky we make what we have. I have been with my company 31 years and my company used to be the best and treat there employees the best but we are hiring more employees from the " gutter stores" and these gutter dwellers are bringing their gutter culture to our supermaket chain. They amke them managers and they talk and treat us like we are numbers that quote " are easily replaceable". Well, this kind of policy doe not promote loyalty!
Posted By gil cottrell,newport beach, California : Wed Jan 17, 11:15:52 AM  

A better question may be "should employees be loyal to their company?" Most companies big and small will tell you they are a family and promote the balance of work and personal life. Very few actually do. In most cases you have supervisors who are loyal not companies. Companies make far more money from the work you do than they pay you. When you leave (voluntarily or involuntarily) they replace you with little to no regard for you. Are you supposed to be loyal because they give you a paycheck? It's not a marriage. You never said for better or worse to your employer. Most states are right to work. That means you can be fired for any reason or no reason unless it violates one of the protected classes. Does that sound like loyalty to you? Do what is best for yourself and your family? That is who you should be loyal to.
Posted By Susan, Laurel MD : Wed Jan 17, 11:19:00 AM  

I don't know why this is even an issue. Though it is not fun, this world has always followed the motto: "Compete or die." Length of service means nothing. Sometimes people look down on someone in one place too long, sometimes they value it. Who cares what the latest trends are in HR. The main issue is that each individiual is responsible for his/her career path! Digging in and making oneself inflexible causes more trouble when a company gets in trouble and has to let you go. Accepting the fact that one may be valued but really is a unit of labor that is expendable at ALL levels is important to understand. This does not mean we should act selfishly. We do the best we can when paid for the work. But there really is no expectation that the "company will take care of me, or "give me the best career choice" and so on. That is up to each person. It is human nature to be frustrated by this. We all want 30 year mortgages, guaranteed salaries that rise faster than inflation, full cost free benefits and so on. In other words, we want the economic equivalent of certainty. Human nature. In fact, it is highly uncertain and one has to be prepared to work anyplace in the world at any time to succeed. A reality that is hard to face when one wants to hunker into a particular place to live and play. As for the so called Senior Execs that so called destroyed things and made money, not a soul on this board would have done differently if given the change to earn economic rent; above average returns for the work. This is the greatest capitalistic game in the world. Time on the job does NOT equal value on the job. It is up to us to be valuable and indispensable as well as flexible.
Posted By S Goldberg Seattle WA : Wed Jan 17, 11:26:38 AM  

I do not believe loyalty is a one way street. It must go both directions in order to work. If an employee feels comfortable with their employer then he/she will usually be loyal. If the work environment "feels" wrong then the employee will start looking somewhere else.
I recently returned from a short (four months) recall to active duty in the Navy. My boss harassed me while I was gone and now that I am back at work he is still at it. He told me yesterday that he did not agree the the War on Terror and that I should not expect any support from him or the company while I am doing anything for the Navy. To say the least I am currently looking for a new job.
Loyalty is not given, it is earned.
Posted By Lee, Houston, TX : Wed Jan 17, 12:44:22 PM  

Yes I'm GenX and No I'm not very loyal to my employer. I've been with this current company for 7 years, I doubt I'll be able to make 10.

Layoffs come at what seems a whim. The top 1% of employees are identified as "High Potential" and nurtured. The other 99% of us are on our own.

Loyality as described by the other comments is a weakness. I do my job well and I am paid for that. However, if the company feels it owes me no more than my salary, then I owe no more than a 2 week notice.
Posted By Karen, Madison, WI : Wed Jan 17, 01:39:09 PM  

I agree with Scott!
Posted By Dale St Paul MN : Wed Jan 17, 06:30:31 PM  

It's a free agent world now between companies and people. To the extent loyalty exists, it is to good managers, not companies.
Posted By John, Atlanta GA : Mon Jan 22, 03:32:15 PM  

Well Annie, your analysis seems to be way off.(Read comments) Business makes the rules and the rule is profit not employment. In a world where it takes years to raise the minimum wage so working people dont starve, you would be so foolish as to ponder the question.Stop reading your own publication and start writing to your rich politicos and ask them,is it necessary to build loyality or just keeping dipping into the workers pool. We still have all those third world countries and they are just a phone call away.
Posted By Jack, Portsmouth,NH : Mon Jan 22, 04:51:33 PM  

Loyality is something that is earned by employee. Today's market is difficult with some careers. IT has been hit hard in the past decade with outsourcing. The bottom line of the company may save money, but at an expense of poor service. Good IT engineers are being replaced with lesser skilled. It will be interesting in 20 yrs, who the senior engineers and architects will be since most of today will be retired. The current outsourcing model does not promote growth. Engineering is decreasing in our colleges. Companies are using the term "churning" to replace higher paid employees. The number of employees may stay the same, but the payroll decreases. There is also a decrease in salary increases even if company is doing well. We are seeing 40% of our CEOs hired outside compared to 1% - 2% in the early 80's. A CEO's cycle may last 3-5 years before being paid a huge compensation while deep cuts are made within company. Cuts will not coincide with workload creating more work for remaining work force. This creates low moral and why we are seeing high job search percentage. A company does not owe an employee anything, but I have seen companies being creative with re-location strategies to eliminate severance and unemployment pay by forcing resignation if you don't re-locate. Locality should at least prepare you financially so you can land your next job. You are not guaranteed a job, but you if you performed a good job at your current employer, you should be given the severance and unemployment you deserve. Loyality is based on risk. If the employer sees a low risk in treating an employee poorly to benefit the company as a whole, it will happen. If your career is in high demand, you will be treated well. Your success will depend on being able to shift into the hot jobs.
Posted By Ron, Boston MA : Mon Jan 22, 06:35:49 PM  

I think employee loyalty is not dead but it does depend on your situation. For me, Ive been with the same company now for six years and have been provided little to no training, bonuses promised never delivered and growth opportunities are a joke. Ive worked very hyard for this global corporation and for that I get to keep my job instead of having it offshored or liquidated. THe only reason im still here is that we are 100% telecommuting now at least with my team and it has its benefits. Doing the same thing over and over with no prospects of moving up the ladder start to get boring and makes it harder to be motivated into working hard or giving that extra mile so to speak. It would be nice if my company didnt consitantly promise and speak about work/life balance and training then remove those itmes from the budget every year. ALso note that most personel with this comapny havent had a pay raise in almost 3 years. We are an IT company so its very competetive and offshoring is killing us. When will our Government stpe in to help?
Posted By Bill Hoffman, Middletown, Virginia : Tue Jan 23, 10:41:53 AM  

I also believe loyalty must be a two-way street, however as with most large companies, the employee is an asset just like a chair, desk, or printer. The employee can and is often discarded like a broken piece of equipment so that the required �maintenance� does not need to be performed, which cuts into the bottom line. The remaining people then assume the functions of those let go since they themselves do not want to be shown the door, which only leads to burnout and more mistrust between the rank and file and upper management.
Posted By Mike, Minneapolis,MN : Tue Jan 23, 06:38:35 PM  

I am what you can call a corporate mercenary. I go where I get paid the most for the stated goal and move on.

Like some writers in here loyalty died in 1999 when Greenspan destroyed the economy with the interest rates and corporate America decide to downsize and in the process destroy everyones financial stability.

My loyalty and all I do is directed to insure my loved ones are taken care of. In the meantime I take the corporations money for my own profit give them a top quality product and move on.

I will never give my loyalty to a corporation again.
Posted By Alex Houston TX : Wed Jan 24, 08:46:35 AM  

We all need to get over the idea that loyalty is defined in terms of turnover.

If the reason to advocate loyalty is defined solely in terms of benefits to one party, then it is not loyalty worth the name.

Loyalty as it gets defined these days is one-sided--which when you think about it is a ridiculous way to define loyalty, except perhaps for a dog.

Not long ago, "loyalty" rhymed with "semper fi," or "'til death do us part," or "greater love hath no man than this." Now it's customer retention and employee turnover.

Defining loyalty this way not only belies the selfish intentions of employers, but literally degrades the language, our currency of interaction.

The only loyalty worth talking about is a byproduct of treating someone else as an end, not as a means. If I'm only interested in your continuing to work for me or buy from me as it affects me, then I'm treating you as an end to my means.

Not worth much at all.

If you're an employer who wants loyalty, then start taking seriously the proposition that maybe you ought to do the rigtht thing for the employee. Period. No strings attached.

Want employees to grow? Then get rid of restrictions on search firm phone calls. Get rid of restrictive non-compete clauses. Can't afford to match what the competition pays? Go figure out how they do it.

Do the right thing by other people and they will do the right thing by you, including stay around. But only if your motives are clean. When it comes to "loyalty," most employers' motives are very suspect indeed.
Posted By Charles H. Green, Morristown, NJ : Wed Jan 24, 11:59:23 AM  

I disagree that loyalty is defined by doing a good job for your current employer. I consider that a good work ethic (which I feel everyone should have). I am 29 years old and have been laid off 3 different times due to corporate changes. I learned right away in my working life that blind loyalty to a company will only leave you disappointed and angry. I have no loyalty whatsoever to my current employer because Upper, Middle and my immediate management have no loyalty to my career. Nor do they show a desire to make a modest effort to boost morale. We�re told that our company is positively different yet every time they make cuts we hear from the top �it�s how the rest of the industry does things�.
I have told my boss that I am actively looking and have started training my replacement as time permits but I still come in and I still do my job because that is more about who I want to be for myself then for my employer. I have no loyalty or shame in admitting it.
Posted By Derrick, Portland, OR. : Wed Jan 24, 01:26:54 PM  

I'm in a somewhat unique situation to see how some corporations have changed the way they treat employees. After working for a company for 5 years and then leaving and being gone for 15 years, I returned 6 years ago. While I was gone, I used this company as a bechmark of how great companies treated their people and often regretted my decision to leave. I was delighted to be rehired by this company that I loved and to which I had always been loyal. Six years later I would say that I have little if any loyalty to the company, and most of those feelings stem from the change in how I am treated. I used to feel appreciated and valued by the company. Now for the most part I feel like I'm seen as a "necessary nusance". Benefits are pared away a little more every year, more jobs are piled on less people, jobs require overtime to complete them and less people get paid overtime. More work for the employee, less cost to the company. Raises don't even keep up with the cost of living and executive compensation is mind boggling. Middle management attitudes lack even an iota of human warmth and concern, and I believe this attitude flows from the top down. Everyone practices CYA and self preservation. What used to be the soul of this company has died. My company would figuratively step over me if I was lying in the street. I am ashamed of what this company has become.
Posted By Judith, Hartford, CT : Fri Jan 26, 02:14:44 PM  

I worked at a company for 7 years. I have had a few raises and a few promotions. We have been taken over by 2 companies in this time. Each company has reduced our benefits and so called perks. Our Christmas bonus was a note thanking us for a record year, and a cheap alarm clock. Employees are expected to be loyal and yet management continues to struggle to separate itself from the general staff, both in wages and attitude. We can no longer expect a company to protect us through the lean times, but we are expected to give 150 percent when they need it. It has become a one way street in favor of CEO's and Corporations. Employees are disposable.
Posted By James, Norfolk VA : Fri Jan 26, 02:23:44 PM  

Loyalty is definitely a two-way street, but i think the onus is on the employer to earn the loyalty of their employees. I think many employees would gladly enter a job situation with a view at staying long term because changing jobs is a scary, painful situation. However, after several years with most companies, the workplace often becomes unbearable. I've seen it several times now.

If the company is doing so-so (several millions in profit is not enough), the overpaid upper management that no one ever sees decides to 'trim the fat', and benefits and good employees go out the window while he/she gets a raise/bonus/new car. It doesn't matter that the company may have invested years in educating some of these employees - their salaries are too much, so they are removed and a less qualified, cheaper, individual replaces them with no hope of becoming qualified because they are now doing the job of 4.

In companies that are aggressively growing, employees are often viewed as commodities - use them up, chew them up, spit them out, get a new one. So what if they have performed well, are good, honest workers? Doesn't matter. By the time they are 'let go', they are so burned out it takes years for them to recover. Or, they are viewed as something the owner/management 'owns' and should be available 24/7 to do their bidding because they are gracing this employee with a below-market paycheck. For those employees, there is no such thing as downtime or a vacation or a sick day.

Such treatment hardly builds employee loyalty to a company.

Generally, i think that employers tend to forget that their employees are, above all, PEOPLE. Like themselves, they have needs. They have lives outside of work, too, and other responsibilities they must take care of such as family.

Companies should treat employees as 'they' wish to be treated; be honest, share the good and the bad times with them, make sacrifices from the top down when necessary and they'll be well on their way to employee loyalty.
Posted By Noelle, New Orleans, LA : Fri Jan 26, 02:41:16 PM  

I work in radio, an industry that has been drastically altered due to downsizing. The duties I carry now would have been spread out amongst 4-5 people 10 years ago, yet I don't make much more money than I used to and benefits are worse than ever. After only three years at this particular company, I am the longest-standing employee, including management. Never have I been given a raise or even thanked for taking on more work every time another position gets "eliminated." Others like me have quit in frustration, only to be bad-mouthed and regarded by management as never having been a good employee in the first place. There is no reward for loyalty here, and none is returned.
Posted By DJ, Anchorage, Alaska : Fri Jan 26, 03:20:49 PM  

I recently worked for a compnay for 5 years and was laid off and rehired at a lower salary 3 seperate times. When i turned in my 2 week notice, my manager questioned my loyalty. I think i showed it a few times by coming back for less pay. It's a two way street. My current employer, is also in the process of sending several jobs, including mine, to india. I have about 6 months to find a new within the company or elsewhere. I have been here less than a year.

Is employee loyalty dead? NO. But it should be.
Posted By Charles, Richmond VA : Fri Jan 26, 03:26:09 PM  

The only thing that employees and employers have in common is the work. If both parties can be loyal to the work and honest about apportioning increases and decreases, benefits and deficits, feast and famine, etc.�then there will be a reality-based, mutual loyalty that is not solely dependent on personal relationships and marketplace bottom-line evaluations. I agree with Charles H. Green, of Morristown, NJ, that having an understanding of loyalty crafted by the workplace and the marketplace devalues the word and diminishes its scope in regard to human ethics, values, and activities. I think that many businesses have departed from work-based evaluations of employees and actively avoid connecting the employees� efforts to productivity for a very disloyal reason�you might be able to ask for a justifiable raise and/or benefits if you knew your true worth to the company. The employee needs to take care of him/herself, the employer needs to take care of the business--if there is work wherein both of these needs are met�you will have a measure of loyalty in the workplace.
Posted By Rachelle Hardy, Washington, DC : Fri Jan 26, 04:19:14 PM  

Loyalty is one of those things that's in the hands of the beholder. I do find that today's corporations are more interested with the bottom line and if there's collateral damage that's the cost of remaining profitable.
Posted By K Carmichael (Toronto, Ont) : Sun Jan 28, 11:45:45 AM  

This column definetely hits home for my situation since I've worked for four Fortune 500 companies in less then two years (all full-time, non-contract positions). Loyalty to employers is out the door and deservedly so and I hope they never get it back without change. Mine likely similar to others, I pose questions in the interview such as, "How long will it take to get promoted," "Do you micromanage," "What are the hours / work-environment?" Then I say regardless of company changes, market dynamics, or management shuffles do your answers to these questions still hold true? They always say YES with a big smile and here I am many jobs later wondering what happened. What I've learned is that in all reality it's not that they intentionally lie, but make assumptions to the contrary (i.e. he probably won't be an A performer anyway since no one is smarter then me). Unfortunately, middle & upper management is filled with egos and arrogance and an enormous sense of entitlement. My advice - jump around to increase your salary and give what they give in return (especially 8 hours a day maximum). Also, don't take what they say in the interview as even remotely true. Always look out for number 1 because they sure won't. Good Luck!
Posted By John, Los Angeles California : Tue Jan 30, 05:27:26 PM  

As always it is a matter of perspective, and that perspective is very much influenced by the value systems that individuals have developed through their formative years. Some employees have a very sense of entitlement that is misplaced. Some, and maybe even many, executives have sold their souls to line their pockets and sleep at night by finding ways to justify it in their minds. Beyond that, there are circumstantial differences of perspective as well. I have learned in the 5 years I have run this mid sized software company that in every conflict there are always two sides to the story, and each side is based at least on a grain of truth. But that does not stop each party from believing that the other is completely wrong. We seem to have lost a level of civility in our society. We see it in politics and we are now seeing it in the workplace. So those that wrangle on about how evil executives are and the executives that wrangle on about how ungrateful employees are both miss the boat. Employers can, and should, always strive to do more. Employees should realize, barring some obvious breach of ethics on the part of management, that most senior managers want to do well by their employees. There is no free ride for either side. It takes hard work and a recognition by everyone involved that people are fallible, they will make mistakes, but that we need to be willing to work together to get past those mistakes. Once we do that, the discussion of employee loyalty will become a much different one.
Posted By Richard, Denver, CO : Wed Jan 31, 10:10:29 AM  

I did not believe in company loyalty until about a year ago.

I was contracting for a very large bank doing some highly specialized technical work. My manager at the bank wanted to hire me on as a FTE but had problems getting the position approved during a merger. I was very worried about my position and started looking around for another contract - a contractor is often tossed aside at a whim, after all. I immediately got offers from other places, and when I had an honest talk with my manager about my intentions, he and his boss escalated to the CIO of our business unit and got me a very competitive offer. I was thrilled and I accepted. They then bumped my pay up another substantial bit after 're-evaluating' the job's duties, once I accepted the offer.

So, they worked hard for me and I work hard for them. I think that�s the definition of a darn good company to work for.
Posted By Laurie, Columbus OH : Fri Feb 02, 05:17:14 PM  

I am no world reknowned management expert like Deming or Drucker. I have no Phd, have conducted no scholary research or gathered statistics. My opinions are drawn from over thirty years in middle management. I am neither executive, consultant, nor belong to any elite institutions. I am, however, passionate about these views: Employees come to work with an implicit trust that their managers are always working for the best interest of the company and its employees. That trust should not and cannot ever be taken for granted. Look what is happening today. It is no longer "What's good for the company is good for the manager." It has become "What's good for the manager is good for the company." Top executives have totally lost sight of this phenomenon and are allowing managers to run amok in order to fulfill their own personal agendas.
Several years ago I wrote a book on the subject of bad bosses, workplace culture and employee morale. It is as relevant today as it was then. The premise of the book is that employee morale is directly linked to the interaction of employees with line managers who are charged with executing the policies and strategies of companies. Unfortunately, many of these managers subvert the good intentions of the organization to meet their own personal goals and agendas at the expense of their peers and subordinates. This management subculture is the result of a corporate culture of ignorance, indifference and excuse. This problem can only be addressed from the top echelon of the organization through honest introspection and intelligent skepticism - not by some consultant's attempts to manipulate the workforce into "feeling" better through gimmicks and programs. Better corporate level leadership is the key. Read more in "160 Degrees of Deviation: The Case for the Corporate Cynic."

Jerome Alexander
Posted By Jerome Alexander, Chicago, IL : Sun Feb 04, 02:27:18 PM  

Much like some earlier posters, I also see loyalty relating more to managers than to firms. For example, the Economist recently did a study on Ivy League endowment managers. I believe all but one (Yale's) left for higher-paying jobs in the business sector... and Stanford's top manager left with about 3 dozen of his assistants.

It's all about opportunity cost. The employer offers little benefits, expect the employee to look elsewhere, along with his corporate compadres.
Posted By Blake, Atlanta, GA : Thu Feb 08, 09:15:25 PM  

I undesstand the concept of loyalty, but it really doesn't have much relevance in a business setting anymore. I view employment as a business relationship between two parties. I agree to provide a value added service for my employer and they compensate me fairly for that service. If either side falls short, it's time to end the relationship.

The ideal future to me is a world where we are all sole proprietors who are free to join together to form a virtual team to accomplish a given objective and then to split up and move on. Sort of virtual corporations. I view the outsourcing trend going on today as the first glimmer of this new world.

If our government would finally pass universal health coverage and a standard, portable retirement savings plan for all of us, it will enable the final migration to the business word of the future.

Change is good for us.
Posted By Anthony, Boston MA, USA : Thu Mar 01, 03:22:36 PM  

Le loyaut� est morte, vive le loyaut�!

Maybe it still exists in some companies, smaller companies more likely, but for the most part it's dead. As someone mentioned above, most states are "right to work" which means the employer can and will fire an employee for any or no reason whatsoever. That is a far cry from loyalty.
Currently I like my job, quite a bit in fact. I work for a university with great benefits - both financially and otherwise, but I'm also looking for a better, more high paying job because I have to watch out for my own. And I'm doing it in the state with the worst economy in the nation. If I don't better my career, no one will.
Posted By Chris, in one of the places with a big U, MI : Fri Mar 30, 10:53:41 AM  

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Anne Fisher, Fortune magazine senior writer, answers career-related questions and offers helpful advice for business professionals. To submit a question, please e-mail askannie@fortunemail.com. Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.