This employee retention speaker and employee retention author was conducting town hall meetings when they weren’t even called town hall meetings. They were just getting everyone in the company together to communicate what was going on with the business and let people speak their mind. We saw them as immensely valuable 25+ years ago and they are even more valuable today as people become less trusting of senior leadership than ever before.
Senior leadership gives themselves a lot less credit than they should. Generally, people want to trust their leaders. Leaders just need to give their people a reason to do so. One of the best ways is to be visible and available to your people. A town hall meeting serves that purpose. It also gives people the opportunity to hear from senior leadership first-hand what is going on with the business instead of hearing through the grapevine. People respect that because it is respectful to communicate with your people. It sends the message that you are willing to take the time and the energy to meet with them and share information.
Another real benefit of a town hall meeting that this employee retention trainer sees is that it gives senior leadership an opportunity to educate employees on how the business works. Few people have taken business classes, so they don’t understand about sales, cost, taxes, etc. This leads them to think that the business is just raking in money. That is seldom the case. It is no wonder that employees are suspicious when all of a sudden, the company president says, “We have to freeze wages because the business is slowing down.” When that happens, you create mistrust, turmoil and employee turnover.
When the president or chief financial officer has the guts to stand in front of the group, be honest about the state of the company and to answer candid questions, people respect that. This respect can then be built upon to further improve the relations between the company and the employees. It creates the willingness of people to engage the president or the CFO when they are walking through the facility and to ask day-to-day questions and to get honest, in-person answers. Soon the employees begin to see senior leadership as real people and it snowballs from there. Once you get that snowball going in the right direction…there is no limit to what can be accomplished with your communications and the impact it can have on employee retention.