As an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, I make it a point to emphasize that first-line leaders and managers are at the heart of any employee retention initiative. They must realize that to most employees, they are the organization to the employee because the vast majority of people report to them and that they impact the day-to-day lives of most employees. That being said, top leaders also play a pivotal role in an organization’s employee retention strategies. The key to a top leader’s success is visibility. It amazes this employee retention author that so few top leaders get out and meet the people that work in their organization.
Leaders that are visible instill a sense of confidence and stability in the minds of the average person on the shop floor or in the office. These people like to see top leaders, chat with them and even get to know them. When that happens, it breaks down the barrier that these people are just a bunch of “suits” that only care about the bottom line. They become real people and this helps to establish trust in top leaders. People also respect the fact that these leaders take the time to get out of their office and talk to them.
This employee retention consultant recommends that senior leaders get out of their office and “stroll” around at least once a day. It doesn’t have to be for hours at a time, but simply being visible takes the mystery out of who these people are and helps to dispel all the preconceived notions people tend to have about top leaders. The best top leaders I have seen, get to know people over time and to know something about people. This helps them with empathy when it comes to employee issues and the understanding of how the decisions they make impact the life of the average employee. That’s huge.
If you are a top leader reading this, put it on the calendar to get out daily. Not only will it benefit your employee retention but, frankly, it will be something that will be enjoyable and a break from the decision making and stressful aspects of the job. It will help to recharge the batteries because it will be evident that people DO like to see you and you will feel that vibe. It can be a refreshing change for a CEO, GM or owner.
Top leaders that are visible, make a difference. Combined with a solid core of first-line leaders and managers, you will truly give a boost to your employee retention.