Lasting Loyalty

It used to be that loyalty was a big part of business. Companies valued and rewarded loyal customers, vendors and employees. An employee would join a company right out of school, work their way up, and after thirty years, retire with a comfortable pension. Those days are long gone. Pensions are few and far between; those that still exist are underfunded and in trouble. Wall Street pressure on quarterly results has shifted corporate focus to tactical rather than strategic. This shift increases the willingness of corporations to do whatever necessary to satisfy the street, even at the expense of the employees. Employees quickly realize how little loyalty means when push comes to shove. Layoff, downsize, or "reduction in force", whatever name you give it, is a way to get rid of employees to help pacify the analysts when the bottom line is not up to snuff.
Somehow the value of loyalty has morphed over time to be upside down. Loyal performers that really deliver are graced with paltry inflationary increases at raise time. Unfortunately, the only way to get a real increase is to get an offer from a competitor. A manager can plead, beg, offer parts of their body and cannot adjust a salary beyond the budgeted inflationary increase during raise time, but within minutes of holding an offer letter, the check book opens. All of a sudden, a considerable salary increase, a nice bonus, and an offer to move anywhere in the organization is in hand. The sad part is that this gracious outpouring is reserved only for those who throw out loyalty and pursue employment elsewhere. Rather than rewarding loyalty, quite the opposite is true. Those who are not loyal are rewarded, and the loyal are considered complacent. The longtime loyal are overlooked for promotion, while outsiders are hired into prominent positions.
Someone with “considerable experience and a fresh management style” is brought in from the outside. It turns out that they are experienced; experienced at running their last company into the ground. And, their “fresh” management style is what got them investigated for sexual harassment. Nonetheless, the new face is brought in above all the internal loyal ladder climbers that were not aware of the elevator outside the building.
This brings us to the great loyalty paradox. You may wonder, “Is loyalty gone?” It turns out that loyalty, like energy, is subject to the laws of conservation. There is just as much loyalty as there always was; it is just distributed differently. So where is all this loyalty? Just look up. Notice all those new alluring upper level positions that have been opened up by the “fresh” one. Do you recognize any of the folks holding those new positions? Of course not, they are all cronies from the newcomer’s old company…. yes, that would be the company that is no longer around. After all, they all worked so well together. Now that is loyalty.
Just like any investment prospectus states… “Past performance does not guarantee future results”…. Yikes!