Some thoughts on employee loyalty

I read an article recently stating that job seekers should never disclose to prospective employers anything that might suggest they were disloyal to their former employer. That started me thinking …


Employers expect loyalty from their employees. Not an unrealistic expectation, I think – except some employers have a skewed understanding of loyalty.


For example: Is an employee disloyal if he:

  • Writes a book on his own time, after work hours?

  • Takes a part-time job (which does not interfere with his regular work)
  • Continues to be friends with a former co-worker who left either voluntarily or was fired?
  • Talks about retirement plans, which are two years into the future?
  • Discusses with co-workers how things could be improved at work?
  • Decides not to participate in an after-hours drinking party arranged by the boss?

To my way of thinking, none of these things shows disloyalty. Yet, over the years I’ve known employers who expect their employees to “live” their jobs 24/7, never question decisions, never leave, and to cut off all communication with former co-workers because anyone who has left is disloyal.


So, what is loyalty?


Loyalty is more than merely staying with an employer. I believe loyalty is giving full commitment and energy to an employer throughout the entire working day, being faithful to the company by never doing it any harm and always working toward its success, and not bad-mouthing it to outsiders.


In other words, loyalty is working a full day for a day’s pay and respecting the person (entity) who signs the paycheck.


A person is not disloyal because he has a life outside of the office. And an employee is not disloyal just because he wants the workplace to be better.


Employers who question their employees’ loyalty should look at how loyal they themselves are to their staff, because loyalty does not travel down a one-way street. And they should consider these truisms:

  • Disagreement is not disloyalty. Disagreement encourages a diversity of opinions and better solutions to problems.

  • People who live a balanced life are more productive than those who are workaholics. People who live only their jobs eventually burn out, and burn out leads to disgruntlement and lower productivity.

  • Employees who remain with a company because they are afraid to leave are likely to be less productive than those who stay because they like working for the company. Fear in any form has no place in the workplace.

  • Loyalty is not a given. It must be earned.

Until next time,

Linda Segall

Segall Enterprises: Writing and Editing Solutions

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.