When executives are accessible to employees, businesses succeed.
Making executives accessible where they work directly with employees gives businesses the legs to launch a brand into unmatched success. At RNR Tire Express, we've built our company culture on empathy, openness and accessibility to fuel the brand's success.
Over the last few decades, employees' outlook and priorities have shifted causing a change in the way that companies operate day to day. As millennials and Gen Z take over the workforce, they are bringing new perspectives into the business world. They are likely to value culture and lifestyle more than other generations that have come before them.
Today's employees expect a productive, engaging, enjoyable work experience that fits into their lifestyles and matches their personalities. Now more than ever, employees are demanding more than just benefits and perks – they want to be part of a community that makes a difference and they want to work for a company they can stand behind.
Many know that employee engagement is key to reducing turnover and ultimately boosting profitability. However, research shows that still less than 30% of employees are engaged at work. To better retain quality talent, leaders should strive to find ways to make their employees feel valued while showing them how they are making an impact. To start, employers should make their teams feel valued by steering clear of manager-led communication entirely. If managers are restricted to top-down, one-way communication with their employees, productivity, innovation and retention will all drop significantly.
The relationship between a CEO and their employees should be built on mutual trust, respect and communication. Offering all of these gives a company a unique strength and a competitive edge to succeed among competitors in a tight labor market. The following guidelines have helped RNR Tire Express to create a company culture built on open communication:
- Empathize with employees to improve performance and productivity.
- Exceed expectations of availability.
- Success and innovation start at the bottom.
Empathize to improve employee performance
Historically, work and happiness have not always gone hand in hand. Careers have been reduced to a means to financial success. However, younger generations are placing more emphasis on wellness as a whole – meaning that all aspects of your life should bring you happiness and mental wellbeing. As a result of this mindset shift means that employers need to create a work environment that cultivates a healthy and happy culture to maintain a high-functioning workplace.
As a leader, effective communication in a wellness-promoting workplace comes down to one rule: empathy. Think about your people and their needs, and put yourself in their shoes. As a leader of an organization, it is your responsibility to understand your employees' sentiments. Are they unhappy? If so, why? What can you do to help fix it?
One of the most important things to know about running a business is understanding the needs of your people; without the right people on board, a business can't achieve its growth goals. Once you can understand things from their vantage point, then you can effectively lead your team and set them up for success.
Company culture is one of the greatest assets when it comes to the evolution and growth of your brand. Since employees are the heart of your company, it is essential to ensure that each one feels valued and recognized for their hard work. This will motivate them to continue taking the brand to new heights, ultimately achieving your long-term vision and goals.
Developing a rapport with your employees takes time and implementing and refreshing your company culture will not happen overnight. The more you interact with your team, the more you will get to know them on a personal level to be able to show them empathy in the workplace. Employees will soon see the difference and, in return, embrace the new more connected and compassionate workplace culture.
Make executives accessible to all employees
Gone are the days when CEOs were sitting locked away in an ivory tower. When executives are restricted to their corner office with little to no interaction with entry-level or midlevel staff, the workplace starts to feel inauthentic. Little access to leadership can also have a negative effect on an employee's motivation, since they don't have an opportunity to see the organization's core values exemplified in the leadership team or to hear the company's goals directly from the top. When executives make themselves accessible and work directly with employees, they are given an opportunity to launch their brand into unmatchable success.
That is why our company's vice president, Vince Ficarrotta, at RNR Tire Express, is everywhere. He spends weeks traveling the U.S. to all our company grand openings. He often appears as an unofficial pirate mascot, Captain Jack "Spare." That's because we want to celebrate our Tampa roots. In fact, we are known for our annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival.
You don't necessarily want to encourage your executives to dress up like a pirate to hang out with employees, but you do want to ensure executives are accessible and human. As companies grow and add staff members, departments, and more, an open-door policy reminds all employees they are all working together for a common goal.
Looping C-level executives in to what the company's employees are talking about, the strategy can help boost morale and ultimately innovation, not to mention that it lets employees know that the executives are a part of the team. Breaking down that hierarchical barrier reassures your employees that they are recognized. While leadership may begin with senior-level management, everyone's opinions are being valued to make decisions for the greater good of a company's culture.
Company growth and innovation start at the bottom
Driving the company forward means all hands on deck; it can never be accomplished alone. The moment that employees become discouraged from sharing ideas or criticism is the moment your business will fail. Work to build a culture where all employees have a voice and their voices can be heard by the decision-makers. Collaboration between C-suite executives and employees at the ground level can be vital for keeping a company ahead of the competition and on the pulse of everything happening in an industry. The relationships formed can help establish trust, confidence and a personal relationship with senior management, which can greatly impact productivity and innovation.
Some of the best ideas come from employees with boots on the ground, as they're the ones in the weeds of the day-to-day workflow, understanding what works and what doesn't and providing valuable insights to create a more efficient workforce. Through a positive work environment, more productive results are possible and growth is inevitable. Empathizing with employees, learning their wants and needs, and valuing each employee’s input ensures that a company can sustain growth for the long haul.