Brazen Careerist says:
True loyalty is sticking with a project even when things get bad. It’s going the extra mile to fix a mistake that could make the company look bad. It’s using so-called “personal time” to learn, create and promote — to better yourself in ways that better the organization.
Ultimately, it’s the small acts wherein you put your employer before yourself that make one loyal.
In context, this is discussing the difference between longevity and loyalty with reference to another article in IT World on making your company Gen Y-friendly. The pithy advice there includes such gems as “offer attractive benefits,” “promote work/life balance,” and such. Funny enough, this looks a lot like articles for many years. It’s not specific to a particular generation.
One thing I would point out, however, is mistaking loyalty to the organization with loyalty to the team. Executives use that word differently than the rank and file. When a CEO gets up and talks about the “company as a team,” he’s often missing the point, at least in larger organizations. The worker bees look at the people that work with them on a daily basis: their boss, their co-workers, other departments that interact frequently, etc. Loyalty — sticking together in difficult times, not just easy ones — often gets generated in that camaraderie.
And “rewarding” is great, too, but only if it’s accompanied by two-way loyalty. Sometimes loyalty isn’t in a set of rewards, it’s in standing by your employees in times of collective or individual difficulty. Managers should ask themselves whether they’re really putting the interests of their staff first, and whether their staff agrees.
It seems to me that that thought process makes the difference, and it’s not revolutionary. Take care of your people — whatever their generational identity — and they’ll take care of you.