A CEO with no desk? Tell me more!

“I want to show I’m available.”

That’s what CEO of a company called Indiegogo, Slava Rubin, states about giving up his corner office.

In a recent article in Fortune magazine, a few companies are highlighted as having CEO’s who’ve given up their corner offices or a desk altogether to be closer to employees and the activities of the business. This isn’t a totally new concept but it’s certainly one that’s re-gaining traction as employee surveys continue to show a decline in engagement.

So let’s say you’re not a CEO. Maybe you’re not a people manager. Can you learn from this article? Can you implement any of these tactics? Sure you can. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:

  • Schedule a 30 minute block of time 2 times per week to visit your team members. Ask questions that relate to the employee’s interests, needs or goals. Does the employee have an interest in attending training? Has the employee recently joined a project team? If so, what’s his/her impression of the project team?
  • If you’re a department or project manager, ask project team members to work in an open project environment. (Take over a conference room or set up an open work space in your office.) Explain to the team that you’ll be visiting to contribute as often as you will to evaluate progress. Oh, and actually go to those meetings after you commit to doing so.
  • Spend 10 minutes each week visiting a different department. Talk with a counterpart in other departments and learn about what it is they’re working on. Who knows? You might have a lot more in common than you think!
  • Have a team lunch. It can be once a month or once a quarter. In addition to bringing in lunch, ask employees to bring a topic to the table for discussion. The topic can be related to a work project, training, article they recently read, or brainstorming idea.
  • Prior to annual budget review, solicit input from your team. Ask them, “If you had the opportunity to create our budget next year, what would you include / what would you cut?”

These ideas build on the idea of an office-less CEO and focus on having engaging business conversations with employees and colleagues. It’s these little things that lead to better employee engagement.

Engagement – that’s the key to better profitability, longevity and a thriving business.