The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” is by Amit Srivastav, president of Infinite.
Employee engagement continues to be a major challenge for all businesses, especially for fast-growing companies like ours. We started out a little more than a decade ago as a one-person team and have since transformed into an international company with over 5,000 employees. But to achieve this kind of success, it’s paramount for businesses to never lose the advantages that come with having a startup mentality—personal connection, a sense of urgency and creativity, and responsibility for the work you do for the company. And that comes organically with a sense of community and camaraderie, especially from leadership.
A sense of connection amongst today’s impersonal digital interaction can be difficult to foster. An ever-increasing global workforce with operations in over 30 countries makes it challenging for my team to create and nurture an inclusive culture. Maintaining that personal touch, however, is critical, because once that is compromised, we risk creating silos, becoming impersonal, and alienating our employees’ sense of ownership of the company.
Therefore, it’s imperative to strategically expand the means of communication between employees and upper management. Our executive team is making a point to organize quarterly town-hall meetings across the globe to help bridge the communications gap. While digital communications are still important to convey information, achievements, and upcoming projects, nothing can replace the personal contact and the dialogue that emerges from small, in-person meetings. Our town halls are meant to help teams capture the more abstract tenets of teamwork: built momentum and connection, and that sense of camaraderie—both with each other and with leadership.
Regular, in-person meetings are also an excellent mechanism for leaders like me to get a view into the daily life, hopes, and challenges of our thousands of employees, while providing leadership with the opportunity to resolve employee satisfaction issues on the spot. When leaders try to resolve these issues at global headquarters, they’re often out of touch with the minor irritants that can create major employee dissatisfaction. For example, at our last town hall, we realized that our teams were not happy with the quality of chairs that they were using and wanted us to replace them with ergonomic chairs. It was a minor issue, but one we agreed to fix on the spot in order to improve morale. When you invest a very minimal amount of money, your return on investment will be huge if it means more employee satisfaction.
In-person meetings act as a chance to celebrate the incredible achievements your employees have accomplished through the year, and they’re one of the most powerful ways to cross cultural barriers. It’s incredible motivation when employees know they have support across the globe for their teams.