It can be surprising to learn that only 32% of the modern day workforce is completely engaged in their jobs, according to Inc.com. If not contained by the management, this situation has the potential to lead to low levels of productivity and huge losses for the company. While the reasons for the disengagement of the remaining 68% of employees could spawn from a diversity of reasons, there is a lot you can do to change this as an executive manager.
Among the best ways would be to put problematic departments under the microscope, and holding skip-level meetings could provide you with valuable insights on what to do exactly. Simply put, skip-level meetings are meetings that you hold with the members of two organizational levels below your rank without the intervention of the leader of these departments.
Read on to dive into the world of skip-level meetings and how to use it to improve productivity in your workforce:
What Are The Benefits Of Such Meetings?
Skip-level insights provide managers with unfiltered information about the concerns of their employees. Through them, they can learn obstacles that might be hindering the performance of the employees. Due to conflict of interest, some managers might hide or distort such information from getting to you.
Additionally, this offers a platform for the employees to offer any insights that might push the organization steps forward. As long as you make these sessions comfortable enough, employees will always feel obligated to speak up. Lastly, this gives you a chance to focus on any new innovations confusing employees and also stress on how you desire the company to run.
Will the Meetings Optimize Your Management Style?
Skip-level meetings will be most effective in your workforce depending on your management style. Do you often wonder about the management style of the managers below you beyond what they reveal to you? Are you constantly yearning to learn about what is happening in the front line of your workforce?
Other than giving you peace by answering the questions above, such meetings can help to build trust between you and your workforce through one-on-one meetings. If you also would love to demonstrate that you value the opinion of every member of your organization, then these meetings will provide you with a platform strong enough to do so. In most cases, working with emails or an employee scheduling app will help in organizing the meetings and providing valuable feedback afterward.
Setting the Stage for the Meetings
The fact that the meetings will be held in the absence of the manager could create an idea that they are in trouble, which increases the need to communicate the agenda of the meeting beforehand. Create a couple of question that you would like to have answered during the meeting and share them with the manager. Having their support will help to increase the chances of success.
Next, create a mailing list of the department members and send them an email inviting them to the meeting with the agenda and questions you want to address being highlighted within the email. This will give them enough time to assess the questions and come with worthy answers. Since the meeting doesn’t have to be mandatory, remember to use a friendly tone to invite as many employees as possible.
Setting Up The Meeting
Instead of setting up a simple lunch or breakfast meeting, set the mood by choosing a great venue for the meeting and offer the employees enough food and refreshments. Direct the meeting in the right manner to get rid of the discomfort that some of the employees will have. It can help to inform them of what you would love to take home from the meeting.
Take note of even those concerns that employees point out to you that feel trivial. While you might think that such concerns only affect a slice of the organization, it might actually mean a lot to the productivity levels of your workforce. Since you will not always have the right answers to every concern, it is okay to tell them that you will address it soon. This will be particularly effective if an employee raises a cross-departmental concern that will need deep assessment.
Follow Up After the Meeting
Follow-ups can be vital, especially if you would love to hold skip-level meetings on a regular basis and have the same level of contribution by employees. Thank those who attended for showing up and also assure them that you are looking into their complaints/suggestions. Giving a timeline for dealing with these concerns could also help make future meetings successful. The more positive outcomes the meetings can produce the more successful future ones will be.
As employees become accustomed to skip-level meetings, complaints will start to reduce. With this changed employee mindset come increased levels of collaboration and productivity. Consider incorporating these meetings into your company culture to embrace building strong levels of trust with your employees.