October 17, 2019

Loyalty in the Workplace: Can Going All in Help You from Missing Out?

by Megha Pai in News

by Melissa Rieger, vice president, Red Havas

With its charming way of parodying workplace culture, it’s no surprise that The Office is one of the highest-rated television sitcoms of all time. As a long-time fan, I’ve heard quite a bit of chatter about the show over the years. (Admit it—you’ve quoted it yourself once or twice.) The reason is quite possibly because, while the characters are exaggerated, they’re relatable. When it comes to a real-life office setting, though, how many people would say that Michael Scott truly is the “World’s Best Boss?” Craziness. It may be more common to hear something like, “He’s absolutely ridiculous—lovable, but ridiculous.”

While that wouldn’t be inaccurate, this clip from Season 5—in which Michael renegotiates his way back into Dunder Mifflin after parting ways to start his own paper company—begins to answer the question that so many fans have probably asked: “How the heck did he get a leadership position anyway?” While there are certainly still grounds for asking that question, my belief is that his rise to leadership had something to do with three core traits (that I dare anyone to deny he has): passion, dedication and—above else—loyalty. In three short minutes, Michael reinforces to senior leadership that he is a visionary with drive. He’s not backing down. What’s more, he reinforces to his team that he is not only thinking about his own success, but also has their best interest at heart.

Loyalty is a trait that does not go unnoticed by me—and it’s something I value significantly in both my personal and professional relationships. To quote the character Harvey Specter from Suits, “Loyalty is a two-way street. If I’m asking for it from you, then you’re getting it from me.”

But who deserves loyalty? Not everyone. There are people in our lives who may simply come and go, hardly making an impact—and there are also people who will earn our trust and loyalty, but will never reciprocate. (That’s another blog for another time.) The bottom line, though, is that if you want to get anywhere—anywhere—in life, you have to be willing to put into relationships what you want to get out of them. That means taking chances—making gut decisions—and deciding who and what you want to stand behind.

Sometimes the decisions are easy. For me, above all else, I have undying loyalty to my family—from my husband and kids, to my parents and brother, and just about everyone else who shares a good chunk of my DNA. They’ve got my loyalty no matter what. This loyalty also translates to good friendships—because if you don’t have each other’s backs, why even bother?

My daughters, Cece and Alice

On a professional level, though, it can take a bit more time to make sure everything feels comfortable (or comfortably uncomfortable, for those who work in an unpredictable field). I can honestly say that I feel immense loyalty to my company—and the colleagues and clients who come along with it. I wouldn’t have stayed with Red Havas for 13.5 years if I didn’t feel that loyalty reciprocated. I know others feel the same, because there are team members in the Pittsburgh office alone who have been with the company for 20+ years—and clients who have stayed by our side for a similar timespan. While losing team members from time to time is inevitable for any company, we had a zero turnover rate in our Pittsburgh office from March 2017 through August 2019. That’s pretty incredible for an agency.

Some of our Pittsburgh team members, at our Red Havas rebrand party

A good team of colleagues and respectable clients are two of the main reasons I believe so many people want to work for—and stay at—companies like Red Havas. Another reason is that I’m not sure how many companies out there are quite like Red Havas. Work is always a priority—but our people come first. From senior leadership down, we reinforce that being a part of our team means stepping in to help others when they need it—and knowing that they’ll do the same in return. The logic is: If you’re going to spend virtually as much time with your team members as you do your family, shouldn’t you feel good about them?

If you’ve stayed with me through the end, I ask you to take some time to think about the concept of loyalty. Do you have it? Are you getting it? If the answer is no, then it just may be time to make a choice. Are you all in—or will you be missing out?