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Take Ownership of Strengthening Senior Management Relationships

Get down from your ivory tower to improve employee engagement.


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A series of employee engagement surveys that measure employees’ engagement levels as well as their perception and opinion of engagement drivers.

In-depth interviews with HR professionals, subject matter experts, employees, and managers.

The following industry experts:

  • Linda Stewart, CEO of Interaction Associates
  • Melodie Barnett, Managing Partner and Change Communicator of Pivot Communication Inc.
  • Dr. Kyle Lundby, Ph.D., Principal at Global Aspect Human Capital Advisors
  • Vince Molinaro, Principal and National Practice Lead, Organizational Solutions with Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions

Your Challenge

While most senior managers know their role when it comes to the softer skills of leadership, many find it difficult to practice. Some common pain points expressed by senior managers include:

  • Being too transparent about the future leads to broken promises when senior leaders aren’t able to follow through.
  • Attempting to interact with employees informally takes time that senior managers don’t have, and can be awkward.
  • Being too confident comes across arrogant; being less confident comes across indecisive and incompetent.
  • Soliciting employee input is a best practice, but acting on it can be difficult. Often, employees offer ideas or solutions that are just not practical or possible.
  • No matter what senior management does, employees never seem to be happy.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • The responsibility for strengthening senior management relationships with employees is not something that can be abdicated to HR. Senior management must take the ownership role.
  • While employees shouldn’t have to earn the trust of senior management at first, senior management should have to earn the trust of employees.
  • Two-way trust requires two-way openness. The most influential thing senior management can be open about is the why. The why behind decisions, the organization’s existence or purpose, and the direction it’s heading going forward.

Impact and Result

  • While it is unlikely that senior management will ever receive perfect 10s on the organization’s employee engagement survey, making some small changes in their daily operations will make a significant difference.
  • Employees who perceive senior management relationships in a positive light are five times more likely to be engaged than employees who perceive them negatively.
  • Strong and trusting relationships between employees and senior management are required for executive teams to successfully lead their organizations through the uncertain times and competitive markets that exist today.

Research & Tools

1. Strengthen senior management relationships with employees

Improve employee engagement, and ultimately, the organization’s bottom line.

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