You can’t know what your employees are really thinking.
That’s why one CEO went undercover to find out. He worked, in disguise, for two weeks on 10 different sites. His goal was to hear what workers said when they were uncensored.
The biggest lesson Stephen Martin, CEO of England-based Clugston Group, learned? Communicate with employees “on their terms.”
Martin learned that his key messages weren’t getting through, or were distorted and misunderstood.
For example, Martin discovered that one of his ideas, encouraging workers to take a tea break where they were working rather than coming back to a cafeteria, was interpreted as the loss of their break.
His new policy is to overcommunicate, especially when dealing with a stressed-out workforce. “If you don’t pass on enough information, even if it is bad news,” Martin says, “they will fill the gap with something else, probably worse than the truth.”
— Adapted from “The undercover boss,” Stefan Stern, Financial Times.