Most CEOs today agree that employee engagement is critical to the success of their business. After all, the results speak for themselves. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the ability of an engaged workforce to improve customer satisfaction levels, produce better business outputs and ultimately drive a company’s financial performance – good news to any CEO’s ears.
But how many of today’s CEOs truly understand the importance of their role in driving this much sought-after engagement? Surely that’s the HR department’s job? Not by a long shot.
SET THE EXAMPLE
The CEO has a hugely symbolic role to play in steering the effectiveness of employee engagement – after all, how can employees be expected to be invested in the well-being of the business when the business isn’t in turn invested in them. While the HR department undoubtedly has a significant part to play in the implementation of effective engagement strategies, the CEO will ultimately be the one to set the example that moulds a truly engaged corporate culture.
What today’s employees want are leaders rather than managers – hands-on visionaries who promote a culture of inclusion, and who value their role in driving the business forward. In order to achieve this, CEOs need to become adept in conveying the strategic direction of the business, whilst at the same time establishing productive dialogue across all levels of the organisation.
Of course not all CEOs are born communicators. More often than not, businesses are founded based their leader’s technical wherewithal rather than their ability to engage a growing workforce. But if today’s captains of industry wish to establish a culture of true engagement and achieve on-going success, they’ll need to step out of that corner office and tackle internal communication head-on.
Here are just a few key pointers to get you started:
In order to foster open communication channels, it’s important that you maintain a visible presence within the office environment. Of course your employees understand that you’re busy running the company, so you won’t be expected to be trawling the floor at all times. But make a point of stepping out once in a while, and perhaps engaging members of staff in earnest discussion. Find out what makes them tick, how they’re enjoying their jobs, how they feel they could grow in the company.
Nothing better cultivates engagement that an a CEO seen to be taking an active interest in staff well-being, so take a walk once in a while – it’ll be well worth your time.
KEEP THINGS TRANSPARENT
We’re not suggesting of course that you disseminate each and every nugget of confidential company information throughout your entire staff contingent – anything but. But a CEO that is seen to be open with regards to a company’s successes and failures is generally more successful in facilitating a sense of ownership within the company structure.
Transparency ultimately breeds accountability, and in turn ownership. Employees who are privy to regular communications about the company’s successes (and even failures) are likely to feel more valued in their roles, and better able to understand where they fit in the big picture.
SET AN EXAMPLE
So you’ve set up a fancy new Intranet system, geared to encourage staff to interact better with one another, yet you’re not using it yourself. What kind of example does this set to your employees?
It’s imperative that CEOs are seen to be getting ‘stuck in’ on the ground level of a business – at the end of the day, why should your staff be forced to utilise systems and processes that you clearly see no value in using yourself? If you’re looking to introduce new policies or infrastructure, or simply to promote existing tools within the business, it’s important that you set the example from the get-go. If you build it they might not come, but if you lead effectively they are sure to follow.
Studies have shown that up to 78% of employees prefer to work for a company who’s CEO is active on social media networks. With the world moving rapidly in a digital direction, CEOs that are able to capitalise on this trend are seen not only to be better equipped to lead their companies into the future, but also to be infinitely more relatable.
Ultimately, social media (which incorporates blogs as well as more traditional social networks like Twitter and Facebook) offers a channel through which today’s CEOs can instantly and easily connect with staff. This is not to suggest that you spend the day poking your employees on Facebook, but rather that you capitalise on the immediacy of the digital environment in order to communicate more effectively within the workplace.
To learn more about EngageME’s CEO Communication Training Programmes, click here