Exploring Employee Loyalty: Insights from My Travels to North Africa
Can Culture Create Employee Loyalty?
On a recent trip to Europe, I decided to take a short getaway to Morocco. I got to catch some sun, explore the city, and sample some of my favorite treats. After visiting the city a few years ago, it was great to return and see what had changed.
To my surprise, when I went back to some of my favorite restaurants and shops, almost nothing was different! Many of the employees, if not all, were still with the same employer. I was intrigued by the fact that so many people chose to remain with the same company without having an equity share.
Making a “Family” Business
I began asking people about their reasons for remaining with their employers for so many years. I was expecting to hear that there were a lack of suitable employers and well-paying jobs, or that the employees themselves didn’t have marketable skills to find alternate employment. The reality, however, was far different. Almost every employee I met repeated the same reasoning: their employer was like family.
Many employees felt that it was their responsibility to remain with their company and help them succeed. Others talked about the history of the establishment and how they wanted to help the business thrive for generations to come.
It didn’t take me long to notice that all of these responses were strongly rooted in the local culture. In Morocco, honor and duty are extremely important. As a result, people have a deep sense of loyalty and respect for employers. Interestingly enough, the owners also embraced this attitude. The bond between management and employees in this context is something that I imagine was prevalent in North American and European businesses during the 1950s and 60s.
Bringing Moroccan Practices Home
Many founders of startups are hoping to accomplished what the Moroccans have mastered with their employees — transcend the boss and worker relationship. The challenge now is to establish a business environment that will cultivate meaningful friendships and a deep sense of connection. If businesses succeed in putting Moroccan practices into action, they will transform how companies look and function.