The "Extra Mile" - what loyalty and motivation have to do with trust

Regardless of whether it is a company, an organisation or a manager, everyone wants loyal and motivated employees. After all, it is their loyalty and willingness to perform that have a significant impact on the business success of a company. Simon Sinek, author, consultant, and well-known speaker, knows the secret behind loyal employees and the resulting business success. And what influence managers have on this. Especially in the current Covid era, which has left its mark on virtually every company, employees have a greater need than ever for leadership behaviour that - despite home offices and increased distance in the team - maintains, if not strengthens, their cohesion.

The most loyal employees are those who identify with the company. But what does that mean exactly? "These are the employees who see themselves and their work as a reflection of what the company and they themselves stand for," says Simon Sinek. These employees put their hearts into their work. And they are the ones who do not leave the company at the first opportunity or uncertainty in difficult times.

Managers influence motivation
But how is it possible for employees to identify with a company? On the one hand, according to Sinek, the behaviour of managers determines the loyalty of employees. We humans are social beings. We want to belong to a group of like-minded people whom we trust and whose values and principles are in line with our own. If this is the case, we are motivated. If employees are treated in a condescending and disrespectful manner, they are doing their job by the book. However, if leaders are inspiring and appreciative, Sinek says, employees are more likely to identify with a company's values and products or services.

But the question remains: Why are employees loyal? Why do employees represent the offers and values of exactly my company and not those of the competitor whose offer is (theoretically) equally good?

Find your Why!
The answer lies not in perfect employer branding, but in the question of why. It is what Sinek calls the "golden circle". Many companies, brands and people are aware of what they do and how they do it. But in connection with loyalty, it is not about which product is produced how or which service is sold. It is the why that is important. This why is the centre of the golden circle and corresponds to our limbic system. Decisions we make in this region of our brain stem from our emotional world. They are the so-called stomach decisions. We make them because they feel good and right - not because they are rational. And loyalty is a stomach decision. In the world of work, this means that loyal employees know why they work for that particular company. They have a reason: they share the company's vision. Because they know what the company stands for. And this vision, this WHY, corresponds to their own values and views. "They are loyal because they do what they believe in, in their innermost being," Simon Sinek explains the psychology behind this. For this reason, loyal employees are more willing to perform and like to go the so-called "extra mile". For them, achieving the company's goals is synonymous with achieving their own goals.

Social beings - Teams at a distance
Due to the Corona pandemic, home office, which is already established everywhere, harbours the danger of weakening the sense of togetherness and causing cracks in team cohesion, especially for social beings like us humans. In home office, the social glue of the well-rehearsed team is missing, as it used to be in the workplace. New structures, new rituals had to and must be established. Because right now, more than ever, the question of why arises. Managers are also faced with another challenge here: To continue to be aware within their team of the need for a common Why, a sharpening of the common vision. Because that is precisely what leads employees continuing to pull together, with combined forces, even in difficult times. And this common cohesion will ultimately lead to a win-win situation for all involved, both for the company and for the employees.

Conclusion: Loyalty of employees grows from trust in managers and from the agreement of the same values. Loyal employees believe in what they do. If managers succeed in creating an inspiring work environment, the loyalty of employees also grows. Then even difficult times can be better mastered together.