Loyalty is a virtue that has long been celebrated as an admirable trait, whether it be in personal relationships, professional endeavours, or even one’s dedication to a cause. However, we often overlook the hidden cost that accompanies prolonged loyalty — the penance one must endure.
Atul Mathur, executive VP, Aditya Birla Capital, agrees that having a long-term association with an organisation can be highly advantageous in terms of building a strong foundation for the organisation itself. It provides individuals with an in-depth understanding of the inner workings, the dynamics of the environment and the unique organisational culture. This familiarity allows them to navigate the complexities of the organisation more effectively, making informed decisions that align with its objectives.
Moreover, he adds that an extended tenure within an organisation grants individuals a profound insight into the nature of the business.
“By being immersed in the day-to-day operations and closely observing the industry landscape, they develop a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics, competitive forces and emerging trends. This knowledge empowers them to anticipate changes, identify opportunities and respond proactively to challenges”
Atul Mathur, executive VP, Aditya Birla Capital
“By being immersed in the day-to-day operations and closely observing the industry landscape, they develop a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics, competitive forces and emerging trends. This knowledge empowers them to anticipate changes, identify opportunities and respond proactively to challenges. Such insights become invaluable assets in driving innovation, formulating strategies and positioning the organisation for sustained success,” says Mathur.
“When employees demonstrate loyalty to an organisation and the organisation reciprocates with trust and opportunities, there is a sense of security and familiarity. There is confidence that if important matters or investments are entrusted to certain individuals, they will act responsibly. Such loyalty can foster a stable work environment and a deep understanding of the organisation’s inner workings,” observes Anil Mohanty, senior HR leader.
From an employee’s perspective, remaining loyal to an organisation can be viewed positively by some individuals. They value the stability and continuity it offers, choosing to stick with a single employer rather than constantly changing jobs.
Drawbacks of extended loyalty
Not everyone benefits from such loyalty. It can hinder personal growth and career advancement. While responsibilities and positions within the company may seem endless, the potential for significant growth may be restricted compared to opportunities available outside the organisation. External roles can offer greater challenges, broader experiences and faster career progression.
Personal sacrifices: Remaining loyal to an organisation for an extended period, often demands significant personal sacrifices. These sacrifices may include forgoing personal ambitions or opportunities, compromising individual aspirations for the sake of the collective, or investing substantial time and effort that could have been directed elsewhere. Prolonged loyalty may even mean ignoring an individual’s desires and ambitions.
Emotional turmoil: Staying loyal through thick and thin often means weathering storms and navigating through challenging situations. This can lead to emotional turmoil as one witnesses the flaws, disappointments and setbacks within the object of their loyalty. The emotional toll can be overwhelming, as loyalty often entails standing by someone or something despite their shortcomings or the difficulties they may bring.
Social isolation: Remaining steadfastly loyal can sometimes result in social isolation. When loyalty requires supporting a controversial or unpopular figure or cause, it may alienate individuals from their social circles. The need to defend or justify their loyalty to others can strain relationships and lead to a sense of isolation.
“The depth of knowledge and experience gained over time can be invaluable in understanding the inner workings of the company and its unique culture. By being a part of the organisation for an extended period, individuals become well-versed in the intricacies of its operations, processes and systems”
Mukul Chopra, CHRO, Convegenius
Ethical dilemmas: In cases where the object of loyalty strays from ethical or moral paths, one may find themselves facing challenging dilemmas. The conflict between personal values and the commitment to loyalty can create deep inner turmoil, forcing individuals to question their own integrity and wrestle with difficult decisions.
Advantages of extended loyalty
Mukul Chopra, CHRO, Convegenius, is of the opinion that maintaining a long-term association with an organisation offers numerous advantages, particularly when it comes to organisational development.
Knowledge & experience: “The depth of knowledge and experience gained over time can be invaluable in understanding the inner workings of the company and its unique culture. By being a part of the organisation for an extended period, individuals become well-versed in the intricacies of its operations, processes and systems. This familiarity allows them to navigate the internal dynamics more effectively and make informed decisions that align with the organisation’s goals,” points out Chopra.
Competitive edge: Prolonged loyalty enables individuals to gain a comprehensive understanding of the nature of the business itself. Through their continued engagement, they become intimately familiar with the industry landscape, trends and market forces. This deep understanding provides a competitive edge by allowing them to anticipate changes, identify emerging opportunities and respond effectively to challenges. Such insights can be instrumental in driving innovation, refining strategies and positioning the organisation for sustained success.
Do’s & Don’ts of prolonged loyalty
Chopra points out that amidst the benefits of long-term commitment, it is crucial to remain cautious and proactive. It is easy to become complacent or overlook the external factors that can disrupt even the most stable organisations.
Learning: “Continuous learning and upskilling ensures that individuals remain abreast of the latest developments in their field and the broader business environment. It involves actively seeking new knowledge, acquiring relevant certifications or qualifications and participating in industry events and conferences.”
“When employees demonstrate loyalty to an organisation and the organisation reciprocates with trust and opportunities, there is a sense of security and familiarity.”
Anil Mohanty, senior HR leader
Balance: Finding balance and self-preservation requires several key approaches. First and foremost, engaging in regular self-reflection is essential to navigate the penance of prolonged loyalty. By assessing the impact of loyalty on personal well-being and growth, individuals can determine if the sacrifices they have made and the challenges they face are truly worthwhile. Additionally, establishing clear boundaries and maintaining open lines of communication within loyal relationships is crucial.
Communication: By communicating concerns, aspirations and personal needs, individuals can mitigate the potential negative consequences that may arise from prolonged loyalty.
Self-care: Lastly, prioritising self-care is paramount when facing the trials of unwavering loyalty. Engaging in activities that promote physical and mental well-being, seeking support from trusted confidants, and dedicating time to personal fulfilment are vital for maintaining
Mohanty is quick to point out that loyalty itself is not inherently negative. It can foster trust, stability and deep knowledge of an organisation. However, he cautions that prolonged loyalty should be balanced with the need for freshness and diverse perspectives.
“It is essential for individuals to continuously grow and seek opportunities to expand their horizons. Similarly, organisations should recognise the value of diverse experiences and perspectives, embracing a culture that encourages innovation and open-mindedness. Ultimately, finding the right balance between loyalty and growth is key to personal and organisational success,” asserts Mohanty.
The penance of prolonged loyalty is a reality that many dedicated individuals face in their lives. Personal sacrifices, emotional turmoil, social isolation and ethical dilemmas can be daunting. However, by engaging in self-reflection, establishing boundaries and prioritising self-care, individuals can navigate the challenges while preserving their well-being.