In some companies, team members feel isolated from leadership. Specialized employees on the bottom of the organizational chart often sit in a separate area of the office, attend different meetings and do completely different work than company leaders. There isn’t a lot of crossover that leads to a junior employee forming a bond with the CEO or another executive.
And for some, striking up a casual conversation with a top boss can be intimidating. Most executives have a sense of urgency at all times. While it’s a quality of a successful person, it also makes someone seem unapproachable. A subordinate could easily feel like they’re interrupting something important if they stop to talk with a boss.
Barriers like these don’t make the workplace seem very inclusive. Junior team members can grow to feel like the leadership team doesn’t know what they do or how valuable they are to the company.
Team leaders should be the bridge
If you feel like this problem exists in your company, it’s important to establish the right communication channels. Executives can’t check in with every employee so they look to their team leaders for updates and progress reports.
Managers should not only share what their team as a whole accomplished but also how each team member contributed. If someone stayed late to solve a problem or went the extra mile for a customer, then make sure credit is given where it’s due.
But giving kudos is only part of the solution. Here are a few more ideas for getting your company leaders more involved with the happenings of each team.
Institute an open-door policy
If your company is serious about creating an inclusive work environment, an open-door policy is a great start. It lets every employee know they’re allowed to approach anyone in the workplace, without fear of being shamed for wasting time or not going through the proper channels.
If your company decides to institute an open-door policy, it’s important the leadership team buys in. You don’t want to tell an employee they’re welcome to stop by an executive’s office and later find out they were sent away.
Invite leaders to team meetings
Catch-ups between team members are common is every company. Everyone quickly huddles together to share news and recap the plan for the day or week.
Similar to an open door policy, welcoming anyone, including executives, to these team meetings helps your workplace become more open. You can’t expect company leaders to attend all the time but you can invite them to sit in every once in a while. It provides them with a better understanding of how each team works and gives team members an opportunity to show off what they excel at.
Schedule skip-level meetings
Skip-level meetings might be the most effective way to get a junior employee together with a company leader. Meetings to discuss tasks and priorities usually happen between an employee and their direct manager. Under the skip-level meeting format, the employee jumps a level on the organizational chart and meets with their boss’s boss.
Skip-level meetings allow a specialized employee to tell an important company leader about accomplishes they’re proud of. It’s also gives them the chance to have their thoughts and ideas heard by someone who has the power to turn them into reality. And from the leader’s perspective, they get to converse with a person who is in the trenches, doing the small yet important things that advance the business forward.
In today’s world, there is no better way to share information than to use social media. Companies can use solutions like Slack, Yammer or Chatter to create an internal, company-wide social network that all employees are welcome to participate in.
An online community is a great way to overcome communication barriers in the workplace. Any employee can share great work or exciting ideas and others can chime in, including company leaders.
Tear down the walls
Remodeling your office is probably out of the question but there are plenty of other ways to make your workplace more open and inclusive. Follow the tips provided in this blog post and you’ll soon find that your specialized employees and company leaders are communicating better than ever.
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