Come on Undercover Boss, “Turnover” a new leaf
Management Monday: Managing Executive and Employee Communication
A disconnect between corporate headquarters and stores is often a stifling problem for organizations, even if they don’t realize it. Executives become busy at the headquarters, frequently having to work through their lunch break (2013 Executive Shadowing study). Every day meetings, emails, and tasks flood their schedule. At the end of the day, they are too consumed in their office and forget to personally check in on employees and operations.
No one wants to be reminded of this additional responsibility, but it is crucial. Beyond the importance of brand representation to customers, organizations that are less in tune with their operations and employees also experience higher turnover rates. The SHRM Customized Benchmarking Database reports that voluntary turnover rates are increasing in a number of industries as the economy begins to improve. Once headed down this path, a cycle begins that can be hard to set on track.
How can Executives connect with Employees regularly?
With all the hectic schedules and stress, how can executives better connect with employees, especially employees at different locations? Here are some ideas:
* Call and personally check in with employees. That’s right. As CEO or a leader of the organization, you have a directory of phone numbers which should be kept up-to-date. Utilize that communication option.
* Send a hand-written or personalized electronic appreciation note to employees so you can express your gratitude and genuinely become engaged with them.
* Invite feedback through small team building events and even on-line, intra office discussion boards. Make yourself available on a certain day and time to utilize a google hangout or conference call for anyone who wants to join in.
* Conduct Company-wide meeting opportunities. Does your organization span across that entire U.S.? That’s okay, schedule an employee-appreciation dinner, sport day, Book Club, etc. and if you have out of state locations, rotate within every state. Make it financially possible for all employees to attend and conduct a live broadcast across each state at the same time during the special event. Tell your employees that you appreciate them and are invested in them.
* Consider workshops where all employees are given the chance to develop as a team and grow their skills. Travel to whatever locations you can manage, even if it’s only a few, and spend a few hours getting to know the people, their families and hobbies there.
* Make spontaneous trips to your retail stores. Spend a few hours in one city, visiting around and checking operations. Speak with managers and their teams. Don’t just look around the store, but ask how things are working and what can be updated. Encourage morale by offering a kind gesture like buying everyone lunch or offering a paid day of leave.
* Go undercover to truly understand the inner workings of your company. The show “Undercover Boss” highlights the disconnect dilemma and gives executives the opportunity to “walk in their employee’s shoes,” by working alongside them. CEO Rick Silva’s visit to a Checker’s location resulted in promotions to hardworking employees he didn’t want to lose. Stephen J. Cloobeck’s undercover experience for Diamond Resorts prompted his decision to offer personal training in his call centers. You never know what or who you’ll discover in your own backyard.
You became an executive and work hard to improve as a leader because you are invested in results. Despite the hectic schedule and heavy demands, you can still make progress. Don’t presume you have to check off every idea on the list above, because you’re only human. But make a goal to incorporate one or two of the suggestions, because you’ll discover the rewards are worth the effort.