There was once a time when the majority of professionals actually enjoyed going to work every day. They appreciated the relationships built with their co-workers, believed their work was meaningful, worked hard, and remained with their company for decades. Likewise, companies reciprocated by taking care of their people, listening to them, and providing long-term protection and care such as pensions and health care.

These days, many companies do not hold up their end of the bargain, so why would its employees? According to a Wall Street Journal, 70 percent of people do not enjoy their job, and employees at all levels feel that there is a lack of trust and loyalty in their company. This lack of loyalty leads to high turnover, high stress, and declining productivity.

Re-establishing trust and loyalty in your organization is essential to retaining key talent, increasing customer satisfaction, and boosting the bottom line. Why you ask? Because numerous studies have indicated that there is a direct correlation between employee satisfaction and company productivity. Additionally, happy employees are stable employees, meaning the bonds of loyalty will flourish and retention levels of key employees will increase.

So, how do you build professional relationships based on trust and loyalty in an environment that is vastly different from the “golden days?” The answer is simple. Communication. It’s what you say and how you do it. The following tips will help you establish better communication, increasing both trust and loyalty and providing a glimpse into the days of our predecessors.

  1. Place importance on “face time” with each employee.

    Today, it seems that we are surrounded with a multitude of communication platforms that allow us to save time while avoiding human contact. Many leaders would rather send an email, ichat, or voicemail than actually talk to their staff in person. Make no mistake, it is essential that firm leadership schedule face time with their employees.

    During these meetings, leadership should uncover their employees’ passions and contributions. This will provide opportunities for employees to contribute to the company by using their real talents. When that occurs, disloyalty and mistrust are significantly eliminated. People feel as though they’re making a difference and are providing real input. The bottom line is that if firm leadership doesn’t allow its employees to feel as though they are truly contributing to the firm, thus having an actual stake in the company, they will never build that sense of loyalty.

  2. Acknowledge a job well done.

    When it comes to building trust and loyalty, some companies believe the best approach is to provide sparkly amenities: health benefits, on-site daycare, happy hours after after a stressful week, and more. These enticing luxuries may “buy” people’s trust and loyalty for the short-term, but such an approach fails miserably when it comes to long-term results. It is important to realize that what people really desire is to be recognized for a job well done. People want their opinions to matter. They want to feel appreciated. Recognition and praise are the most effective tools to help people realize how significant they are to the company. This approach goes much further than any dollar amount ever could.

    Therefore, make it a point to look for people doing something good, and acknowledge that behavior publicly. Openly congratulate people for achieving goals, meeting deadlines, and for going the extra mile. When people are noticed and feel appreciated, they’ll be more loyal.

  3. Do what you say.

    The term “walk the talk” still holds true. If you want your employees to display trust and loyalty, then firm leadership needs to do the same. Unfortunately, many managers and executives don’t always do what they say. They often communicate great ideas that build appreciation and support, but then those ideas never materialize. Real leaders who inspire trust and loyalty keep their word. Since employees interact with their direct supervisor daily, it is essential that these leaders trust the company and display loyalty. If they don’t, then their staff will not be trusting or loyal either. So, make sure firm leaders display the behavior they want their staff to emulate, because they are watching and they do notice!

While the “golden days” of business may be over, a company can still inspire trust and loyalty amongst its employees. In fact, the more firm leadership communicates with its people, acknowledges them, and emulates the behavior they are seeking, the more trusting and loyal their employees will be. Remember, it is a leader’s job to ignite the passion of their people. They can’t do that without communication. Taking an honest interest in their employees’ talents and displaying the behavior and company culture they desire, will result in employees who want to be with a company for the long haul, and who positively impact the bottom line.