Employee Loyalty = Stockholm Syndrome


The path of an individual employee within a large company seems to take one of two possible roads; apathy or loyalty.

The apathetic employee really loathes the company but isn’t motivated enough to leave. Instead, they spend their time doing just enough to not get fired. This backfires on some, of course. Working as hard as you can to do as little as you can without crossing over into dangerous water isn’t that easy for some to do. Those who don’t walk a fine enough line will eventually find themselves applying at another company to begin the cycle again. The folks who made the film “Office Space” really hit the nail on the head when describing this type of employee.

The loyal employee is the one with which I am the most intrigued. This brings us back to my wife (and the point of me writing this in the first place). As I mentioned earlier, my wife is very loyal to the bank. She, for instance, is always trying to “do what’s right for the bank”; a little phrase they like to throw around with reckless abandon at her shop. For me and many others this sounds just as cliche as saying things like, “we value the customer”, “service with a smile”, and “your satisfaction is our first priority”. What kills me about my wife, however, is that actually believes it when she says it. I know. I’ve known her long enough to discern truth from lip service. She wants to do what is right for the bank because she really likes her job, likes her company, likes her co-workers (most of them), and likes her boss. There are times when that’s not true, of course, but she has been at the same place for fifteen years so I’m thinking that it’s true more often than not.


  1. This is an intriguing subject – and it also serves to explain why some people succeed at their work, while others don’t.

    This “loyalty” motivates the person to do what’s right for the company. And, if the company is dedicated to doing right for the consumer – then it’s beneficial to all.

    It’s the degree of loyalty that affects the outcome. Are they loyal in order to help themselves? Or are they loyal because of a higher goal? If it’s the company, without considering the consumer – then it’s also doomed to failure.

    But those that are committed to providing and outstanding service/product for the good of the business and of the customer are the one’s who will succeed.

  2. I took an Organizational behaviour course this year and they’ve broken it down further with an EVLN model. It is mostly applied when employees and unsatisfied in the workplace, but you can apply it to many other relationships as well.
    So we have the 4 predominant types…
    EXIT: Rather self explanatory – the subject will leave the job/situation/relationship.
    VOICE: Basically speaking up.. complaining, etc. (My mom is one of these)
    LOYALTY: The person will stick around in hopes of things improving, still exert effort, remain loyal to the managers/employees (this is the #1 factor holding many people to their jobs). Additionally, if they are unsatisfied after many years in an organization, there is usually a high escalation of committment that also causes this.
    and lastly.. my favorite…
    NEGLECT: Although not motivated to leave, or change their situation, this kind of employee will beging to neglect the job. It could range from simply not trying as hard, to taking more breaks, to mindlessly doing nothing for the majority of the workday.. just like OFFICE SPACE!
    Isn’t it great?

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