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Creating a Culture of Learning, Part III

Published Wed Dec 26 2018


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In our previous post, we covered five critical elements of a culture of learning and effective training designs organizations might consider adopting. When employees have a strong culture of learning, they’re more willing and ready to contribute to your organization’s success, which impacts their loyalty. How has loyalty in the workplace changed?

Gone are the days of employees spending their entire careers working for the same company, but we discovered that loyalty today is different.

Focus on Alignment Over Longevity

Company commitment or loyalty can take many forms. People can commit to the cause without committing to a single company. Likewise, people can commit to their company without committing to their current job. Over the past 15 years, employers have seen a decline in the number of people who stayed at one company for 20 years or more. Longevity in your workforce doesn’t necessarily mean employees align with your company’s values and goals. It also has nothing to do with productivity.

We looked at the number of years employees worked for a company and found a very weak association with company loyalty. It was nearly the same whether someone worked for the company just a few years or more than 30 years. So employees’ sense of loyalty to your company doesn’t predict how long they’ll work for you—and that’s actually a good thing.

When Alignment Is the Focus, Generational Differences Disappear

Research by Deloitte suggests that if given the choice, 25 percent of Millennials would quit their current jobs in one year; 44 percent would quit in two years; and only 16 percent would plan to stay with their current employers for 10 years. There's a mismatch between Millennials’ personal values and organizational goals.

Our work focused on alignment: When organizational values matched personal values, Millennials were just as loyal to their company as Baby Boomers or Gen Xers.

Loyalty now represents how strongly you and your people share organizational goals—and how passionately they’ll work to accomplish those goals. Because loyalty is tied to engagement and both are tied to culture, companies can invest in learning and organize employees’ viewpoints around shared goals.

Well-Rounded Culture, Well-Rounded Company

We’ve offered plenty of reasons why a stronger culture of learning is better and why companies should adopt effective training designs. But looking even deeper into your company’s challenges, we see both of these as part of the organization.

Growth, whether it’s measured by increased revenue or increased productivity, improves the health of your company. One of the most impactful factors on productivity is retaining your best employees—the ones who are agile, continuous learners, and innovators. Without high-performing employees, you lose productivity, and without great leadership, even great employees can’t do what they do best.

Our findings also draw connections among company culture, productivity, good leadership, engagement, effective training, and loyalty to the company. While we don’t know what comes first, we do know that all of these facets of a company are related.

Loyalty isn’t the same as longevity. Working at a company longer doesn’t amount to more loyalty or productivity. When you think about loyalty, you should think about developing employees whose values and goals are aligned with those of your company. It’s a collaboration where everyone and every part matters—to the company, to your leaders, and to your bottom line.

This post was adapted from Bridge’s e-book, “Strong Culture, Strong Leaders.” Download the full e-book here.

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