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3 ways leaders can build employee loyalty

Leaders can increase employee loyalty by offering flexibility, respect and validation, says S. Chris Edmonds.

3 min read


Video transcript:

A recent study by LinkedIn found that nearly 70% of Gen-Z and Millennial employees plan to quit their jobs in 2023.

How would that percentage impact your workplace? If you lost, for example, 40% of your Gen-Z and Millennial workers, it’s likely the impact on production, quality and service to your customers would be painful.

Many leaders today rely on autocratic, my-way-or-the-highway leadership behaviors that do not inspire younger generations. Demeaning treatment by leaders and peers cause your top talent to quit and leave — or to quit and stay.

To retain and attract top talent in the months ahead, leaders must figure out how to accommodate the preferences of Gen-Z’s and Millennials and to build mutually beneficial relationships with those younger generations.

There are three proven ways leaders can build loyalty: flexibility, respect and validation.

Flexibility requires nimbleness to accommodate today’s generations’ unique needs for where to work, when to work and how to work. 

If your most talented staff need to work from home 100% of the time — due to care for family, commute, well-being, etc. — and you decide that all staff must come in the office three days a week, you’ll drive those talented people away.

Each employee — no matter their generation — has needs that differ from their colleagues. Accommodating as many of employees’ unique requirements as possible is challenging, but the beneficial impact on loyalty is huge. Loyalty grows stronger when leaders are flexible about what each individual player needs to be most productive, efficient and to deliver promised results without drama.

Respect and validation does not happen very often in our workplace. However, employees desire and deserve workplaces where they are respected and validated for their aligned ideas, efforts and contributions, every day. When you discount, dismiss or demean others’ ideas, efforts and contributions, you erode respect and validation. When you celebrate traction and successes, thank people for their efforts and contributions and pay people fairly and equitably, you model respect and validation.

When employees are treated with respect and are validated at work, loyalty increases, proactive problem solving increases, productivity grows and cooperative teamwork increases.


S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker and author as well as executive consultant, founder and CEO with The Purposeful Culture Group. He has authored or co-authored seven books, including The Culture Engine and, his latest, Good Comes First with Mark Babbitt. Edmonds’ videos, posts and podcasts are available at DrivingResultsThroughCulture. Follow Edmonds on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apple Podcasts.


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