Trust me, I’m a CEO

The essence of a great place to work is trust. Thirty years of experience working with the most successful organisations in the world leads the Great Place to Work Institute to conclude that the foundation of every great workplace is trust between employees and management.

In another interview with Erin Lieberman Moran of the Great Place To Work Institute, Mark Ragan recently asked about the role of social media today in Internal Communications. Erin’s response was that the best companies are using it to enhance and strengthen workplace relationships. She went on to say:

“In lousy workplaces, organisations are monitoring the blogs to make sure that there aren’t human resource violations. In high trust environments where leaders trust the people that work within the organisation, they are just letting those conversations continue because there is an understanding and an appreciation that by opening up those vehicles they have insight into what people are thinking and experiencing.”

My regular readers will not be surprised that I concur.

These conversations will still be happening. Employees with an axe to grind will still hold court in the coffee room or the corridor. It’s just that the leadership team won’t have the benefit of knowing about them nor the opportunity to engage with the issues.

Earlier this year, Giam Swiegers, CEO of Deloitte Australia gave a fascinating interview on the use of Yammer within his organisation. Among other things, it gives him the opportunity to personally engage with people out in the open, not only to challenge misconceptions but also to accept responsibility for organisational shortcomings and take speedy remedial action. It’s worth a watch if you are interested in this stuff.

It seems to me that this kind of leadership approach must make a positive contribution to the creation of a high trust environment in the workplace. I’d love to hear from any Deliotte people who could provide any insight into how much emotional credit Giam has managed to accumulate through his approach to Social Media.

Social Media is not everyone’s cup of tea and in my opinion it can only ever be part of a multi-channel approach to employee communications. In some respects the real value of encouraging staff to blog and contribute to cross functional discussions using tools like Yammer is as much symbolic as it is practical.

As long as they are trusted to do so without heavy policing and censorship.

4 thoughts on “Trust me, I’m a CEO

  1. Having listened to a pod cast last night around engagement and how the levels increased in companies where the CEO blogs, your entry just reinforces how effective the CEO’s role can be within staff engagement.

  2. There are good CEO blogs and there are bad CEO blogs. The good ones are likely to be authentic, conversational and spontaneous. They will deal with the issues that are of interest to the workforce and they will encourage open and honest feedback. The bad ones will be those full of carefully constructed corporate speak, ghost written by Internal Communications or the PR team, dealing only with those issues deemed to be of importance by the senior leadership team. Good ones will contribute to engagement, bad ones will undermine it.

    Can you send me a link to the podcast, it sounds right up my street – and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Nick Dobbs says:

    An example of a positive culture. If the fundamental principles of inclusion and empowerment exists within an organisation offline, I believe internal blogging can work very well and be used to positive effect by all participants. I agree with you that employees can sniff out instantly any overly contrived messages/responses from senior management. I like your articles on your website and will follow with interest. Nick Dobbs

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