What is social loyalty

by Laura Knappmann, 21.06.2019

What does loyalty mean today? Who is loyal to whom? Loyalty from customers, suppliers, employees - or also in the private sphere: loyalty from friends, partners, family - what is the value of this value? Is loyalty even a value? Is loyalty still an enforceable virtue? Somehow this term is a bit dusty and one wonders: Is loyalty still relevant? Or why do you get the impression that people are no longer loyal to themselves and to others?

I would like to pursue all of these thoughts in my blog post today and also give you one or the other food for thought.

Definition of loyalty

First of all, I asked myself: what actually is loyalty and how is it defined? Although I learned in school that Wikipedia was not a scientific source, I looked for the word “loyalty” there and came across a surprisingly good and true definition.

Loyalty describes the inner bondage based on common moral maxims or guided by an interest in reason and its expression in the behavior towards a person, group or community. Loyalty means, in the interest of a common higher goal, to share and represent the values ​​(and ideology) of the other or to represent them even if one does not fully share them, as long as this serves to preserve the commonly represented higher goal. (Source: Wikipedia)


Loyalty as a moral concept

Loyalty is described here as a moral maxim, i.e. as an idea of ​​values. Loyalty is something that is firmly anchored in the understanding of a person - like a character trait, there is an intrinsic motivation to be loyal. It is the quality of feeling connected to a person, an organization, an institution or a cause. This bond is expressed through the targeted behavior. If loyalty is not anchored as a basic value, it can also emerge anew. Loyal customer or employee relationships arise, for example, when trust is built, there is satisfaction and a benefit is perceived. These benefits can be both material and immaterial. However, I think that it is primarily the intangible benefit that leads to true loyalty - both with customers and employees. Because money only motivates in the short term, the real motivation is determined by human factors.

Loyalty out of common sense

Loyalty can also be controlled by the so-called common interest. This terminology appeals to human reason and the pursuit of the right things. Loyalty also works without values ​​and moral maxims and can also arise out of reason. I think loyalty out of the interest of reason is therefore much more difficult to pursue than loyalty that is based on internally anchored own ideas. For me, loyalty out of the interest of common sense has something to do with selflessness and greatness, because in such a case I renounce my own inner interest and, for reasons of reason, join another cause that I would normally not support, right?

Loyalty is an effect

Whether as an idea of ​​value or out of reason, loyalty is not directly controllable, but an effect. As a company, it is up to you whether or not loyalty is created in the immediate vicinity (customers, employees, suppliers, etc.). The standards for loyalty are set by one's own behavior, both internally and externally. The most important question, however, is: Are you loyal yourself? Because it is not for nothing that it is said: As one calls into the forest, it echoes out. Your own behavior therefore also reflects the behavior of those around you. If you are a very loyal person, entrepreneur, employee or customer, the other side will (ideally) give that back to you.

Loyalty on the decline?

Especially in times of a shortage of skilled workers, loyalty plays an even more important role in terms of attracting and retaining employees. With all the studies on the behavior of certain generations, the difficulty of finding optimally qualified employees or employees at all, the issue of loyalty always comes into play for me.

We have also experienced that employees have left us, that the commitment was not given and therefore mutual loyalty could not arise. Why is that? On the one hand, I think it is actually due to the type of person and the increased demands that employees place on a company. On the other hand, it is also due to personal development and changed goals. Nowadays it is normal for employees not to be loyal to a company for the rest of their lives. Much more people today want to gain a wide range of experiences and only commit themselves to a company or a job much later.

What can we as entrepreneurs do about it or for it?

Yeah, that's a good question. What can we do to find and retain qualified employees who are well suited to the company or to make them loyal employees? I think the art lies in two things.

  1. My company needs a clear focus and goals. My company must radiate authenticity and integrity and stand by itself and its values.
  2. I am only looking for the right employees and thus strengthen my corporate culture and team spirit. Hiring unsuitable people just out of necessity has the opposite effect.


I know that in times of the current shortage of skilled workers, it is difficult to implement the second point in particular, but it is the key to long-term success. Only in this way can you be loyal to your employees and also create loyalty among your employees. The same also applies to customers, suppliers and other business partners.

I can only advise you during these times: Stay true to yourself, communicate this to the outside world and be patient.

Text: Laura Knappmann / Image: AdobeStock