As an employee retention speaker, this is a question I often get from groups of managers who are in the audience. Employees love to see senior executives out on the floor or wandering around in the office. Unfortunately, it is rare when this happens. In my experience as an employee retention expert, by doing so, they give the impression that they are hiding or are too good to be out on the floor.
I can tell when working with execs that they often feel uncomfortable wandering around. After all, for most of them it has been YEARS since they worked at that level, if they ever were at all, and it seems foreign to them to get out and wander around. Combine this with the fact that people will be much more blunt and ask questions that in the past they never used to ask, and it can be daunting at times even for a high level exec.
All that being said, my experience is that although people are more blunt and questioning of execs than in the past, they love to see them. Most execs don’t understand how important it is to be visible to people. If an exec is visible and engages with employees, you see their level of acceptance and trust increase significantly.
When I come in and work as an employee retention expert with an organization on their retention strategies, I encourage execs to get out on the floor even if it is for only 30 minutes a week and to wander around, say “hi,” and be visible. I have seen some execs that get out regularly and people respect them more. If you are an exec and are reading this, get out of your office, get visible and talk to your people. They will love you for it.