Our last issue provided an overview of the top 10 traits of an indispensable employee. In this article we will further discuss traits 10 and 9, loyalty and professionalism.

10) Loyalty

Loyal employees represent a cost savings over recruiting and training new hires. They can be incredible assets to any organization. Employee retention is a key factor in an organization’s success. Furthermore, there is a direct relationship between customer loyalty and a company’s growth and profitability. Your employees serve as the face of your organization daily. Whether they interact with clients by telephone, e-mail, or meet customers face-to-face, you need loyal employees to have loyal clients.

So how do you foster employee loyalty? Since each employee is a unique individual, no single approach works for everyone.

Offer more than just a job: Employees who view their job as part of a rewarding career path with their employer are naturally more motivated and invested in their work.

Fair pay: While you can’t buy loyalty, you can easily destroy it if you’re not paying someone what he or she is worth.

Invest in training and development: If you invest in your staff, they are more likely to invest in your company. They will also have a better understanding of your organization’s business goals and practices, which can likely translate to improved performance.

Share your vision: Communicate your company’s direction and decisions. Employees feel valued and more trusting when they know about company decisions.

Empowerment: Providing a way for employees to communicate ideas and influence company practices gives them a stake in the success and promotes team spirit.

Find common ground: Align career development with company goals. If a concession that you make for an employee is not good for both the employee and the company, it will not be good for long.

Get to know your employees: An employee’s relationship with their boss and co-workers is one of the most important factors in determining how loyal that employee is. Treat employees as individuals and look for ways to foster solid relationships.

Recognize and reward often: Employees appreciate positive feedback and tend to be more productive after receiving it. Additionally, giving praise to an employee is like tipping over a row of dominos; a productive employee tends to inspire and motivate co-workers by example.

9) Professionalism

Many people feel professionalism is defined by how you look, how you talk, and how you act. While those traits are included, that’s just scratching the surface of what professionalism really means. Professionalism can be defined as ‘focused, accountable, confident, competent, motivation toward a particular goal, with respect for hierarchy and humanity, less the emotion.’ What this means is maintain focus, accept responsibility, and work toward a specific goal while minimizing emotional distractions. In the process, you maintain respect for your superiors, peers, and subordinates as well as respect them as human beings. A true professional:

Learns every aspect of the job

Carefully discovers what is needed versus what is wanted

Looks, speaks, and dresses like a professional

Admits their mistakes

Completes projects with high-quality and in a timely manner

Uses higher emotional tones: Enthusiasm, cheerfulness, interest, and contentment

Goes above and beyond to assist others as needed

Is focused, level-headed, and optimistic