In the last few years, much has been written about loyalty. It seems there’s been as much written from the perspective of organizations as compared to the employee side.

From either perspective, it’s a sad commentary and one which could have devastating impact on society.

I had the advantage of working for the same company for 45 years and saw a change happening. During the first 20 years or so, employees came with an expectation of building a career. The latter 25 years saw new hires came and go with seemingly a different objective. This story was not unique, as it was similar to many industrial organizations.

People who are loyal will do whatever it takes to make their organization a success. However, the trend has moved more to “What can I get out of an organization before I move on,” not, “what can I give to an organization?”

This is not an isolated thought but seems to be pervasive across a broad spectrum of society.

To be fair, however, we can’t blame the employee’s alone. The employers also shoulder some of the blame for this attitude. Many organizations find, from a financial perspective, it seems to make sense to replace higher-paid employees who have been there for several years with temps or entry-level employees. When everything is considered, this action may not be very wise in the long-term. Often, it is not considered what the lack of experience, time spent training replacements and quality lapses (internal and external) actually cost them.

What seems to be driving organizations is short-term profit instead of customer satisfaction. Profit comes from customer satisfaction. If you put profit first, it’s an immediate reward, not a long-term one. The same, however, goes for employees who flit from job-to-job. When they’re young, it may seem to work, but it will catch up to them later in life when their job prospects start to dwindle as their salary increases.

In the long run, organizations rewards loyalty with raises and promotions. BUT the reward comes to those who consistently deliver results. Loyalty actually is a two-way street — you first give loyalty, and you’ll get it back. If I can be forgiven for rephrasing a famous 1960 quote by President John F. Kennedy to make a point, "Ask not what your organization can do for you, ask what you can do for your organization."

It might seem archaic, but it’s an approach that still works today. Think about it …