What would change if your employees were CEO for a day?
When employees feel like their voices are being heard, they are reportedly 4.6 times more likely to contribute their best work, according to SalesForce data. Ultimately, knowing that the company is interested in what employees have to say builds trust and encourages loyalty among members of the workforce.
Respect is the most important leadership behavior, according to a Georgetown University survey of nearly 20,000 employees . More than merely listening, making employees a part of a two-way conversation shows that the company values their opinions.
With this in mind, we set out to develop a process to help Nearmap increase workplace communication. Along the way, we found that creating opportunities for interaction, encouraging honest participation and involving executive participation were all keys to building a stronger corporate culture.
Invite employee interaction
We recognized that we needed a conversation starter to open the lines of communication and spark a little enthusiasm. We discovered that engagement surveys work the best for our circumstances because they’re quick and easy to take, which results in high completion rates.
We like to include thought-provoking questions like “if you were CEO for a day, what is the one thing you would change?” to keep the employees engaged. At first, that particular question provided some of our most entertaining suggestions, including “free umbrellas for all,” “I would like the CEO’s paycheck,” “change my LinkedIn profile,” and “put margarita slushy machines in the kitchen.” When employees saw that the CEO responded to every answer, they realized that we were taking the feedback seriously, and that changed the tone of their responses.
Anonymity invites honest responses
It was essential to Nearmap that we collect unfiltered, honest feedback from our employees. This meant reassuring participants that their responses were completely anonymous. We believe this confidentiality encouraged authentic and candid submissions from employees that otherwise would have remained silent for fear of reprimand or judgment.
For instance, we’ve received excellent insights about driving the strategy and growth of the business, giving Nearmap valuable concepts that we’ve been able to embed into the business.
In addition, we present the survey results back to the employees so they can see how their thoughts align with those of their co-workers. We believe this commitment to being open is an excellent way to motivate honest dialog.
Executive participation leads by example
When the survey concludes, we group all of the responses under different headings, such as collaboration and communication, marketing, mission, planning, product, compensation, recognition, and general. Then, our CEO, Rob Newman, gets together with other executives to provide answers and comments on many of the submissions. In turn, those responses are shared with the employees via the HR newsletter and on our company collaboration app.
In reply to an inquiry about creating a green initiative for the company, our CEO shared a list of active programs that Nearmap was involved in to reduce not only our carbon footprint but also that of our customers as well.
While we may not know what we would change if we were the CEO for a day, we are convinced that employee interaction, honest responses and executive participation are reliable and important ways to make impactful connections with our employees and build a stronger corporate culture in our company.