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5 Ways CEOs Can Build Trust and Increase Employee Engagement

by Jody Ordioni

5 Ways CEOs Can Build Trust and Increase Employee Engagement

Most leaders falsely believe that it is only the job of the HR department to communicate with the employees. The executive team also has an opportunity to engage with the employees. Many of the executives might not know where to start, so here are some tips that might help you engage with your employees better.

Share Your Vision

CEOs are unaware of the fact that many employees are oblivious to the vision of the company and their leaders. The vision thus remains something that is talked about only in the executive suite of the company. The further employees are from the C-suite, the less likely are they to be acquainted with the vision of the company.

The vision is not a ceremonious task that has to be completed just once, rather, it has to be iterated regularly. Focus on communicating the vision to employees whether through tailored events or general meetings. If the employees understand the vision of the company, their trust in the leadership increases.

Be Straightforward About Change

A research shows that employees prefer to be informed of any change through the CEO directly first. They might choose to direct the questions to their managers, but a figure of leadership should take charge of imparting important information, even if it is negative news.

Companies might think that not sharing negative news would keep the employees placated. However, it’s seen that employees themselves fill in the blanks and panic. They might arrive at conclusions that are worse than what reality is actually.

Try to beat the rumor mill and keep employees posted about news regarding employee reduction or any other organizational changes. There might be instances when employees end up receiving the bad news from outside sources; if they are equipped with knowledge beforehand, then they can confidently answer any questions.

Ironically, sharing bad news with employees in a transparent manner increases the credibility of the company in their eyes. If employees can acknowledge that CEOs don’t sugarcoat bad news, they can rely more on the company.

Interact with Employees in Real-Time

Don’t remain confined to your cubicle, schedule visits to plants, offices or stores situated in other geographical locations. If you are scheduling a meeting with higher officials in other locations, take out some time to get acquainted with the employees who work in your organization. Introducing yourself to the employees and interacting with them one-on-one is a great exercise to build trust. Through word of mouth, other employees will also get to know you and the general impression will be a positive one.

Employees are more interested in working with people who make the effort to know them better. By showing employees that you care, their interest within the company increases as they understand that they are valued.

Employee Input is Valuable Too

Employees are the first line of interaction between the company and the outside world, vis-à-vis the customers, products, etc., they have an intimate knowledge of the dealings which can provide an insight into the impact of the company and its success. Most companies are intent on taking feedback from employees for schemes and initiatives that are already in place.

Adding an option for the employees to suggest new ideas or ask questions will help in boosting the engagement levels as well as provide new material to work with. Setting up a reward system might provide the right incentive to accelerate innovation. Also, make a point of asking employees for suggestions when meeting them in person.

Don’t Be a Machine

The employees who feel they have formed a bond with their leaders, they are more likely to follow the leadership without any reserves. Glimpses into the life of leaders outside the job sphere can create powerful connections that go beyond the mechanical nature of workplace association, thereby creating loyalty and trust within the employee force. This does not imply that employees should know each detail of a leader’s life, but seemingly insignificant details like one’s pets or children can be a powerful way to create human connections.

The Bottom Line

The above-mentioned strategies might appear simple, and as a result inconsequential, however, most CEOs will find that they have to actively move out of their comfort zones. Some might also find that they already follow these practices. Even following some of these practices will lead to a significant increase in the trust of employees in the leadership and boost engagement of employees with the company.

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