Skip-level Meetings and why they are important

An organisation runs on its human resource. With high upgrades in the technological constraint and the progress of Artificial Intelligence, a large number of jobs are automated and rightly so. As per future trends, AI is likely to take over 37 per cent of the total jobs in an organisation in the next six years. In Spite of that, it’s debatable as to how effective that is and if it can completely surpass the need of the human capital. 

Employees keep the social and the operational structure of an organisation impact and each employee has a specific role to play. Irrespective of the fact that which level of the organisational hierarchy an employee belongs to, the work and presence of every employee is detrimental to the success of the organisation.

Now, keeping a large group of employees can never achieve organisational goals. The employees have to be met with consistent appraisals, feedback, raises, etc. This is to say that the employee has to be provided with positive reinforcements in order to boost his/her morale which in turn would lead to increased productivity and long-term retention.

 

There are a number of ways by which employee morale can be boosted and not all of them are monetary measures. This is where skip-level meetings find their significance. In these kinds of meetings, employees from even the lower levels of the organisation are duly given the significance and hence inculcates a sense of importance in them. This boosts employee morale and also has a different edged advantage. Skip-level meetings also allow the upper-level management to gain information from the grass-root level of employees without any filtration from their immediate subordinates.

Read on to find out the know-hows of Skip-level meetings.

 

Skip-level meetings and why its important.

 

What does a skip-level meeting mean? 

Skip-level meetings are meetings where the flow of information in an organisation is bypassed along the traditional hierarchy that an organisation follows. This means the top-level management, say the Vice President does not conduct a meeting with his/her immediate subordinate. Instead, the VP skips two or more levels of the hierarchy and holds a meeting with a relatively lower-level of an employee. 

 

This means that upper-level management has a better and clearer insight into employee perceptions as well as the employee attitudes at the grass-root level. On an overall dimension, it increases the transparency of the entire organisation. On addition to that, it also improves effective communication between all levels which is one of the most detrimental factors to the success and productivity of an organisation.

 

Why conduct skip-level meetings?

Skip-level meetings have multi-dimensional uses and all of them advantage both the employees as well as the organisation as a whole. It is a sure-shot way to gather authentic information, boost employee morale, improve the organisational fabric as well as ensuring transparency at all levels. There are a number of reasons why HR personnel should include skip-level meetings as an important aspect of the functioning of the organisation. It is a great way to bring individual goals and organisational goals under the same roof to make sure they coexist and evoke mutual success.

 

Advantages of skip-level meetings

  • Skip-level meetings ensure a high degree of transparency of information in the organisation.
  • It creates a healthier and more open environment at the workplace where even lower-level employees feel included in the operations.
  • Increased employee engagement ensures that they feel important thereby leading to a boosted morale and better productivity.
  • A universal understanding of the company’s vision, mission and priorities, both short-term and long-term.
  • Getting a clear and detailed picture of the organisation from the ground up.

 

Things to keep in mind while conducting a skip-level meeting

The primary objective of a skip-level meeting is to improve communication within the organisation, improve employee engagement as well as boost employee morale. Whereas in some cases skip-level meetings are used for different purposes like collecting information about subordinate managers, gathering their work review etc. Also, the success of a skip-level meeting is a planned procedure that should take place months before the skip-level meeting is to be held.

Skip-level meetings are not a procedure to fish and snitch about your direct reporters. Hence the purpose, procedure and agenda of the meeting should not only be fixed but also extremely professional.


How to conduct a skip-level meeting

  1. Proper communication should be made to the manager whose level is being skipped. The reason for the skip-level meeting, the objective, the goals and the procedure should be duly communicated. Otherwise, it might cause misperception and the subordinate manager may feel that the meeting is being held as a fishing expedition to collect his/her work review from the lower-level employees.
  2. The purpose of the skip-level meeting should be clear and distinct. The purpose should not be diluted and in no case should it be used to extract information about subordinate managers or other employees to give them reviews.
  3. Due to the gap in the hierarchy, it is highly likely that the lower-level employees would not immediately open up to the managers. Hence the extensive planning is important. 
  4. Months before the skip-level planning is going to be conducted the managers should try to gel their bonds with these employees. This can be done by striking up casual conversations in coffee breaks or talking about something trending. The primary purpose is to get the employee comfortable to speak to you and give the employee a feeling of inclusivity.
  5. It is highly recommended to inform the employees before-hand about the meeting by letting them know the details. This will give the employees some time to prepare and would also eliminate the nervousness that might otherwise have been caused by an immediate summon. 

 

What you can ask in a skip-level meeting?

To ensure the success of a skip-level meeting, the right kind of questions should be asked in order to have effective communication. The wrong questions with the wrong-follow ups may lead to a wrong impression on the employee and act as a barrier to communication. 

 

Questions that can be asked during a skip-level meeting.

  1. What would help you to work better?
  2. What do you think are the current drawbacks?
  3. Who do you admire the most and love to learn from?
  4. What are your insights about the new initiative?
  5. What would you like to change about the company?
  6. Which aspects do you think are being neglected by the management?

 

Try to ask questions like “why” and “how” after their answers to get a deeper and better understanding of what the employees mean. Also, make it a point to take notes while the employees are answering. This will give the employee a feeling that their words are being considered and given importance to.

 

Summing it up

 

Do skip-level meetings take a lot of time?
Yes.
Does it require extensive planning?

Yes.
Does it help the organisation in all dimensions?

Also yes.

It may seem like a time-consuming affair to conduct skip-level meetings but in reality, it does the organisation more good than harm. The results it yields come in handy for any modern organisation to properly function.

 

Hence, skip-level meetings should be conducted on a consistent basis to harness its full potential for organisational growth. 

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