You wrote, "This has led to a very emotional response from the many
employees that feel years of service is important and do not see the value
of shifting this paradigm. The company, however, sees the need to shift
the emphasis but not what to shift the emphasis to."
My guess is there's a kind of identity crisis happening. People have
learned over 15 years that the company highly values loyalty. Some people
may have joined the company because of that. Others may have adapted
themselves because of that. You probably now have a company full of
people who identify strongly with their loyalty, and being a part of a
company that values that quality in them gives their work meaning.
Loyalty has been a part of who the company is, and it has become a part of
who the people are.
Over those 15 years, the company has done something wonderful that most
other companies would *love* to do if they could: build loyalty. That is
a *major* accomplishment.
I think it would be a mistake to stop acknowledging the loyalty you've
asked people to bring to their work, that you've asked people to take on
as part of their identity. To stop acknowledging it sends a message: "Who
you are is now less important to us than it was."
As big a mistake as that would be, you could turn it into a disaster by
valuing loyalty less without telling people (or even *knowing*) what it is
you *do* value. The message here is: "Who you are is now less important
to us, and we aren't going to tell you what *is* important." The
relationship the company has created with its people will be shattered.
Please continue vigorously and visibly rewarding the loyalty people have
taken on as part of themselves. In *addition*, you can start appreciating
other values. That's likely to create some chaos (expect that and allow
it) but not as much as pulling the "loyalty" rug out from under them.
Dale H. Emery | 27 Tall Pine Road Consultant | Berwick, ME 03901 Relationship and Communication | (207) 698-1650 For Successful Organizations | firstname.lastname@example.org
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