As one of the buzz terms of recent years, employee engagement has been a key factor driving the modern workplace. But developing engagement programmes to boost employee performance is one side of the equation; CEO Engagement, it turns out, is just as important.
According to figures published by POPin, a mobile app designed for businesses, a genuine communication gap still exists which effectively undermines the efforts behind any engagement programme – and this is badly affecting the delicate balance between management and staff.
How is this the case? Well, while employees are encouraged to contribute, speak to management and basically get involved, their efforts are not being reciprocated. Many CEOs are absent from events, fail to listen to employee opinions and mistakenly believe that providing information in meetings is all that employees are looking for.
In fact, POPin revealed that of the respondents in their survey:
- 56% of executives admitted they still rely on email as their main communication route with employees.
- Less than half (47%) of all respondents claimed employee opinions are “only sometimes” listened to.
- About one-fifth (21%) of executives get feedback from employees in person.
3 Negative Impacts From Low CEO Engagement
- Lower Trust In Management
- Increased Employee Turnover
- Falling Employee Productivity
If employees believe that management is not really interested in listening to them, there can be little surprise that trust is eroded. After all, the CEO and other executives are the ones who can make changes, and if they are not willing to do so, expressing an opinion is pointless. This undermines the whole purpose of engagement and in fact, is likely to lead to employees withholding their opinions. Popin’s survey revealed that only 52% of managers believe that, very often when they do hold conversations with employees, they do not receive “candid feedback”, and 54% said they believed employees will withhold critical feedback.
Logic dictates that an unhappy employee is more likely to leave a company in search of a happier environment and better terms. Where employee engagement is low, high employee turnover is a genuine threat, with one Gallup study found reported that 54% of disengaged employees would consider leaving their jobs. Without CEO engagement building bridges between disillusioned staff members and management, departures and resignations can pull the rug from under an organization. Engagement programmes, like mentoring for example, can have a dramatic effect, improving employee retention by as much as 72% for mentees and 68% for mentors.
CEO engagement has a direct positive impact in the that it can encourage open communication, even as far as giving employees the chance to challenge established practices and contribute ideas that can improve operations and processes. Deny employees this opportunity, and they can fail to evolve both themselves as a professional and the company as an organization. In fact, according to a study carried out by the Personal Group, happy employees are 57% more likely to be engaged and 53% more likely to be productive.
There are other areas that are affected, but businesses cannot afford to strike out in these 3 areas because of the damage such failings have on the bottom line.
And with that knowledge, many experts are encouraging CEOs to not only step out of their offices and spend time on the shop floor, to stay in genuine touch with issues from the ground up, but to apply the 3 key CEO engagement steps.
- Listening to employees
- Clearly communicate the organisational vision and goals
- Connect with employees