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50 Shades of Loyalty

Posted by Insightlink on 08/18/15

Shift Your Complainers into Your Most Loyal Employees

In our personal lives, loyalty, or lack of loyalty, is often a deal breaker but we know it doesn’t work that way in business and especially in the places where we work. You can be disloyal to your organization and still work there, alongside someone else who is utterly devoted and loyal. In fact, if you assess your employees, you can usually see there is a mix of people who love working for you and people who hate it, along with every feeling in between.

After surveying tens of thousands of employees every year, we have found that there are basically four kinds of employees that exist in nearly all workplaces across North America, ranging from very loyal to not loyal at all. Each group has its own unique characteristics and each group represents a similar proportion of people across organizations. What is very cool about this matrix is that there are some employees who can actually shift from being your loudest complainers into becoming your most truly loyal employees. Imagine what that shift means in terms of retention, morale, employee engagement and productivity.

First let’s recap the four kinds of loyalty:

1. Committed loyalists: that’s how we describe your most loyal employees. They are highly engaged, very satisfied with their jobs, and plan on staying a long time. They are enthusiastic and great ambassadors for your company. We know from our research they represent about half of your workforce, which means most organizations have lots of room to increase loyalty among their employees

2. Satisfied opportunists are next: they are a bit odd because they are satisfied but they tend to be the kind of people who aren’t loyal to any one organization. They are more selfishly motivated to move if a better opportunity comes along, so there is not much you can do about them. Fortunately, they represent a small percentage of employees, usually around 5-6%.

3. Change seekers are the employees no one wants: they are going to quit, maybe not today but they have a maximum two year plan. They know they want to move on and have already made that decision, so regardless of any changes you make, they may not be affected long term. In every organization, there are almost 1 in 5 employees on the tipping point of leaving.

4. Dissatisfied compromisers: these are our favorite group. Why? Because even though they complain about being unhappy, are unproductive, and may have even mentally checked out, they are still coming to work and are not planning on leaving. And while this sounds like a disaster, we know that couldn’t be further from the truth. These people are not hardwired to be unhappy. They are unhappy usually for good reasons. They are coping with issues and barriers on a regular basis that simply frustrate them. This is the group that, if you could find out exactly what was bugging them and you fixed the problem, would become committed loyalists and among your most loyal employees. You can succeed at converting these unhappy employees into being your best ambassadors and, really, that is the heart and soul of a good employee survey, to reveal problems, so you can take action to address them. The really great news is that when you address problems, loyalty increases and, in turn, so does retention, morale, employee engagement and productivity.

Employee surveys are the first step to finding out what mix of employees you have working in your organization. If the results are positive, then you are doing a fantastic job with your employees, but if the results reveal problems, then you can make positive changes and improve your workplace.

Insightlink’s employee survey has its origin in our loyalty matrix. We strongly believe that this tool helps you understand the attitudes and opinions of your employees. Being able to classify them by their loyalty type allows you to see more clearly what changes need to be made. For more information please contact us at:



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Where does your company stand on each of the critical "4Cs" of employee engagement and satisfaction?
  • Commitment
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Find out with a benchmarked and validated 4Cs Employee Survey from Insightlink. Since 2001, one of the most trusted research companies in North America.

How many of each do you have?
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Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

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