Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas and the New Year are fast approaching. In general, employees are usually upbeat around this time of year. But remember in college when students would catch “spring fever” toward the end of the spring semester and kind of “zone out” when it came to classes and studying? Well, the same can hold true for workers around this upcoming holiday season.
How do you keep workers engaged and focused when Christmas trees, decorations, travel arrangements and guest preparations are all simultaneously pulling on their brains? Well, there’s one group in particular that can significantly help boost engagement during the holidays, and like the increase in employee morale they’ll inevitably spark, the people in this group reside way up at the top of your company’s food chain—the C-suite.
Having your company’s CEO, CFO, CMO, etc. “stoop down” and work alongside other employees in your company is a great way to keep workers productive and engaged over the next few weeks. And though you may be thinking: 1) why would the higher ups want to do that and 2) how will they find the time during this busy season, you may want to take a look at this example before writing off this idea.
According to a Business Insider story, Boston Market CEO George Michel planned to work in a local Manhattan Boston Market store on Thanksgiving and the following Friday. He planned to wear a regular staff uniform and, like every other worker, serve customers behind the counter at the local chain’s store.
Michel, who the story said began his career in 1971 as a kitchen helper at A&W, spends a lot of time “in the field” because he feels very comfortable there. And serving customers alongside his staff on Thanksgiving this year isn’t a first for the CEO. The story explained:
Michel says helping out is a tradition and a way of leading by example. Last year he assisted in Miami, and the year before that in San Francisco.
So, why is this a great example? Well, Michel’s actions demonstrate the positive effects a CEO’s or higher up’s presence and willingness to work with other “lower level staff” can have on an organization’s entire workforce.
Michel works at local stores because he feels he’s leading by example. What a great way to show your workers how much the company is dedicated to fulfilling its mission and goals by having the CEO work alongside other staff. It’s one thing to witness a colleague complete a task; it’s a totally different experience to watch the CEO—the head honcho—complete “regular” assignments.
Michel is the CEO of Boston Market; imagine how it would feel not only for a customer to have his/her order prepared by the CEO of a restaurant but for a worker to see him bagging chicken and scooping mac & cheese. This “leading by example” tells workers that the higher ups aren’t too proud to work alongside those outside the C-suite and do whatever is necessary to produce great customer satisfaction.
This tactic also humanizes the CEO and other C-suite professionals. Oftentimes, many lower level workers have never seen or met the CEO of their companies. Having a higher up work alongside other staff members can help make them feel more connected, a part of the team and offer a more personable work experience.
In the story, Michel explained how he always listens to restaurant feedback from the staff whenever he’s working in the field.
The people who do the day-to-day work are the ones who know best how to improve things, he says…
As CEO, Michel adds that it’s his responsibility to make sure employees feel comfortable sharing that valuable feedback with higher-ups. “My job is to remove the stumbling blocks,” he says.
Any person in a much higher level of authority holds great influence in a company. It shows workers how much their employers value them and their concerns when a CEO or C-suite executive not only takes the time to listen to their concerns but follows up. Plainly stated, there’s no better way to boost engagement throughout your business than to have the CEO him/herself take an interest in the needs and concerns of your staff.