Company leaders play a unique role in organizations. They create the strategy and lead others to execute it. They also set the tone for how employees work and interact with each other. As your organization’s “culture carriers,” your senior leaders can help employees become more aligned with your culture, mission, values, and goals.
Our recent research revealed some interesting findings about the impact of leaders on the employee experience. In this blog, we’ll review what we learned and how you can create more opportunities for your employees to connect with your leadership team.
The Impact of Leaders on the Employee Experience
In our 2022 Employee Connections Study, we wanted to understand employee attitudes about connection in the workplace. In analyzing survey responses, one particular segment of respondents we call “Secure Employees” stood out. Secure Employees have a positive employee experience, high levels of trust with their employer, and feel aligned with their organization’s mission, vision, and goals.
An interesting finding about the Secure Employees in our study is that they tend to interact with senior leaders more frequently than other employees. We asked the question, “How often do you have a meaningful engagement with a member of your organization’s leadership team?” Secure Employees were almost twice as likely as other respondents to say they engaged with members of their leadership team at least once a week.
Since Secure Employees reported a better overall employee experience than other respondents in our study, it’s likely their connection with senior leaders has played a role. Ultimately, we believe this finding supports the idea that frequent engagement with company leaders supports a better employee experience.
Tips for Helping Your Leaders Connect With Employees
Given the benefits of keeping your leaders connected with employees, it makes sense to identify ways to make it happen. Here are some actions you can take to boost the connection between employees and your leadership team:
Create Opportunities to Build Trust
Meaningful relationships require trust to grow. But trust with senior leaders isn’t always a given. A 2021 Gallup survey found that only 23 percent of US employees strongly agree that they trust their organization’s leadership.
To encourage more trust between employees and company leaders (which will set the stage for more meaningful connections), make sure there is plenty of transparency in communications from senior leaders. In addition to sending regular updates to your workforce, create opportunities for two-way communications, so employees feel safe to ask questions and make suggestions that senior leaders will hear and consider.
Make Company Leaders More Visible
As revealed in our study, employees who feel more aligned with their organization’s mission, vision, and goals are also more likely to have weekly interactions with the leadership team. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to explore how you might get closer to achieving that frequency. For example, you can implement a weekly business meeting hosted by a senior leader and make it open for all employees to attend. You could also implement skip-level meetings that give employees more exposure to senior leaders.
Elevate Your Company Meetings
Of course, company leaders can’t be everywhere all the time. That’s where holding regular all-hands or town hall meetings comes in. These large-scale meetings are a great way to bring people together and send a consistent message about new goals and company updates. They can also be an excellent conduit for deepening employee engagement with company leaders.
In our work helping companies produce engaging company meetings and events, we’ve seen first-hand how transformative these meetings can be. They help build excitement among employees while also helping them connect with senior leaders on a more human level. As we mentioned in a recent webinar, one of our clients engaged leaders and employees in a game of “Buzzword Bingo” during a company meeting. It became a humorous point of employee-leader connection during the meeting and for weeks after.
Deepen the Employee-Leader Connection
There are many ways employees connect in the workplace. In addition to their direct manager and coworkers, employees can also benefit from opportunities to engage with senior leaders and build deeper relationships of trust and connection. For more ideas to help you create meaningful connections with and among your employees, download your copy of our 2022 Employee Connections Study.