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Leaders must stay in touch with their front line workers

We see it all too often where executive management is not in touch with their front line workers. They seem to be in denial about what they do hear or have their reasons for not listening. Whatever the reason is it is not a good enough reason. Front line workers not only need to be listened to, they need to be asked for their input and be taken seriously. Too often they are treated like they have no say, their opinions don’t matter, or they just don’t know what they are talking about.

Step up as a leader and be humble enough to listen, ask and take what they say seriously. They are in touch with your customers, clients and patients. They hear, directly, what the customer wants and needs are. They hear it over and over again. Nobody knows your customer intimately better than your front line workers. Not even marketing data tells you all the little intricacies that a front line worker can.

You don’t have to implement every little suggestion but you have to respond and let them know it is important to you and that their opinion matters. When they are a part of the decision making process and some part of their input is used, even if it is only the part you already agree with, it goes a long way for employee engagement. Engagement creates a better work environment which fuels productivity and performance.

When morale is good and employees are purpose driven because they feel like they have some say in the decisions the organization is more successful. When employees are happy customers are happy. When customers are happy the organization is profitable. When the organization is profitable managers are more likely to get promotions and raises and leaders look good at the top of the heap.

Lastly, when employees are happy they stick around. Turnover can be very costly and can bury an organization if it is not controlled. There are numerous things that can improve turnover but keeping your front-line workers engaged and part of the decision making process is a major part of that. When people don’t feel like they have any opportunity for contribution they look elsewhere, often looking for another job while they are working for you.

Make sure supervisors are talking to each employee about their purpose with the organization and how they fit in to the bigger picture. And don’t be afraid to ask for their feedback, then reassure them that you appreciate their thoughts and ideas. Be sure not to just appease them. Think of how you can actually use some of their ideas and then make sure they know how their ideas were used to initiate even bigger ideas.

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