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The critical importance of validation at work

Validation of employees when they do a good job is critical to retaining top talent, says S. Chris Edmonds, who points out many leaders overlook this retention tool.

3 min read



When was the last time you recognized a team member for solving a vexing problem or working together so a team goal was met, on time?

In every keynote presentation I make, I ask members of the audience to raise their hand is they get enough recognition at work. How many raise their hands? 10%.

How many of these players invest ideas, efforts and contributions that benefit your organization each day? Business leaders tell us that, on a good day, 60-70% of their people genuinely contribute to company successes.

Too few of these capable people receive validation for their efforts.

Even in the midst of the “Great Resignation,” leaders have not evolved from Industrial Age beliefs and behaviors. People are still voluntarily quitting jobs in astounding numbers — 4 million US workers quit in October 2022.

Despite losing talented players, leaders have not changed their behavior. Too many leaders continue to rely on antiquated, autocratic and command-and-control behaviors to drive results.

Validation is a powerful prescription. When leaders confirm, endorse and celebrate employees’ aligned ideas, efforts and contributions, those employees feel valued and valuable.

Through validation, employees learn how important their efforts are, and how their efforts benefit customers and communities.

Validation increases employees’ clarity, commitment and confidence that they’re doing important work that matters.

If employees’ efforts are ignored — if they are not confirmed or endorsed — employees are quick to believe that they’re not doing important work. They’ll convince themselves that they’re engaging in activities that their leaders don’t pay attention to. They’ll come to believe that what they do does not matter.

Leadership requires communicating clear expectations then coaching to ensure steady progress towards goal accomplishment.

Effective coaching is respectful, validating and clarifying. Lousy coaching is demeaning, discounting and dismissing of employees’ ideas, efforts and contributions.

Ten percent of my keynote audiences receive recognition on the job. What percentage of employees in your company receive validation for their aligned efforts?

People do good things in your workplace every day. Take time to look for those good things, then validate those good things by communicating your thanks so people know you noticed and know you care.


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 “Good Comes First.” Edmonds’ videos, posts and podcasts are available at DrivingResultsThroughCulture. Follow Edmonds on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apple Podcasts.

Opinions expressed by SmartBrief contributors are their own.


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