Stop Talking About Employee Loyalty And Start Talking About Trust

One thing I love about being human is that one thought, in one moment has the power to change your life…


I’ve been a fervent evangelizer of servant leadership but one experience impacted my entire perspective of what it takes to retain employees and it actually has nothing to do with loyalty and everything to do with trust and the organizational conditions that cater to vulnerability.

The Composition of Trust

What is TRUST?

Trust is, “A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something” or “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”

Think about this concept and let it resonate in your mind.

A firm belief….

Assured reliance…

Assurance  by definition means, “Characterized by certainty or security.”


Character means, “Moral excellence and firmness” or “The complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation.”

Firmness, security, assurance, character, ability and moral excellence is the composition of trust.

How do we get there?

When it comes to retention, it’s not about employees being either loyal or disloyal to a company or brand. The question is not loyalty; it’s trust and community. Do your employees TRUST their leaders enough to be vulnerable and go the distance? The key word here is enough. 

Trust is the first step. The next step is to create an environment that’s conducive to complete vulnerability, that’s demonstrated by the leadership.

Leaders cannot be afraid of being exposed in front of their employees. It’s in these moments of exposure and vulnerability that employees see true leadership demonstrated and can be inspired to mimic the same behavior.

Building an atmosphere and organizational culture that allows employees to trust their leaders in a way that allows them to be vulnerable and talk about their day-to-day struggles is not easy. You have to create a certain kind of bond that’s strong and consistent by using the principle of Incrementality.

It’s about creating an ecosystem conducive to vulnerability one step at a time, one conflict at a time, one mistake at a time and one victory at a time.

This requires presence, interaction, intuition and connectivity on a daily basis. Leaders have to find ways to go the distance with their employees and partner with them on their professional journey.

  • Walk the path with your employees by doing a pulse check. Ask them how their weekend was or maybe how their day is going.
  • Be proactive in talking to your employees about their professional and personal goals OFTEN. Make a roadmap that will help them achieve their goals.
  • Support your leaders and make sure that they have the tools they need to succeed.
  • Develop the type of trust where if the employee takes the plunge, they know that you will be there to catch them.
  • Take time to celebrate not only achievements but the power of community.

A relationship driven employee/employer dynamic calls for vulnerability on both sides. When things go wrong it’s the leadership that should drive all parties to commit to fix what has been broken.

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