Does anyone acknowledge October 16? It is a pity that employees always think of CEOs as fire-spitting dragons that remained inside the closed doors of their fancy cabins.
Boss’ day was on October 16, but for a boss who takes the time to talk and listen to the employees, it is a Boss’ day every day. A “Happy Boss’” day to the CEO of today, who discusses an employee’s grievance of the company’s compensation policy over a game of chess. You, the employee’s pleas, do not go unnoticed anymore and you are not ignored.
Experts believe that a CEO’s job is the trickiest of all. Although, a CEO is always surrounded by all sorts of people willing and ready to please, access to the actual ground reality of the goings on among the middle and the junior level employees is highly restricted, causing isolation.
• Interaction: Under these circumstances, even the smallest of gestures, such as sharing a meal with the junior staff or playing a game of tennis that facilitates open communication, can make a world of difference.
• Transparency: One point that should be noted is that, after this sort of interaction, the senior level staff should be kept informed as this will make the whole thing very transparent. It is crucial not to isolate the department heads and other managers. Transparency is the key to success in any business.
A well-known company MD makes it a point to meet all the shop floor offices, front sales personnel during his tours and hears them out on business aspects, such as difficulties faced by them. He then gives a personal feedback to the HODs for redressal. Another company conducts an annual event where the chairman, CEOs and senior leadership get together to address the issues of their employees worldwide, through a webcast. The employees need to log in to a virtual chat room and express their concerns.
• Appreciation: A famous hotel-chain celebrates its ‘Staff Appreciation Week’ every year, wherein the hotel’s management team and managers thank its staff for their efforts and carrying out their functions like serving meals and cleaning rooms etc. All employees are given a chance to voice their concerns and share their happiness over group lunches.
• Accessibility: There is also in place an ‘integrity hotline’ that allows its staff to call the CEO directly and share their concerns over any business situation or ethical or abusive issues in the hotel. This availability of the CEO to the ground level staff seeks to promote transparency.
What kills the open culture are the assumptions and misgivings harbored by employees. This happens if employees do not appreciate each other’s positive points as well as understand the negative points.
• Sharing strengths and weaknesses: A big organization did an analysis on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the employees. The employees were asked to join a conference with the CEO along with their heads of department and the session helped people open up and talk about themselves, about their strengths and weaknesses in an open forum with the CEO presiding. Talking directly to the employees helps the CEO in grasping and gauging the emotions of the employees which is the only way to measure employee engagement.
• Employee opinion: In many companies, a cross section of employees, across different hierarchical levels and functions is taken on a random basis and discussions are conducted over tea to understand the employee perception on a wide variety of issues.
Bypassing senior managers (while keeping them in the loop) is now seen in many successful organizations as a way of creating strong bonds; whereas in companies with the old concept of management, it is seen as probing.
The new boss on the block is “the boss next door.” Many organizations give their employees an email where they can directly write to the CEO, and their identities are kept confidential. There have been several instances where employees have brought to fore unhealthy practices which have been put a stop to. It all boils down to addressing employee issues constructively and tactfully, without giving the image of seclusion, which was part of many organizations previously. It is evident that CEOs are no longer paying lip service when they claim to follow an “open-door” policy. CEOs understand the huge payoff in sharing the grievances of the employees over a cup of coffee or a game of chess. The key to developing a satisfied and engaged employee is “interaction and transparency.”