3 Ways for Leaders to Engage with Frontline Staff

by Sep 1, 2022

The new wave of employees entering the workforce has shown an increasing interest in building personal relationships with leadership. They want to know the person behind the leader making decisions that affect them. 

Though it may seem like another burden on top of the many things leaders are tasked with,  building relationships with frontline staff is an absolute necessity for creating a positive workplace culture. 

Leadership visibility creates a feeling of transparency and trust which in turn increases job satisfaction and employee engagement. 

In our line of work, we often work with a leadership team that is quite removed from the workforce. This creates a feeling of secrecy and takes a toll on morale and the work environment as a whole.

We’ve brainstormed a ton of ideas over the years with our clients to help bridge the gap between leadership and employees, so we thought we’d share a few with you:

    1. Engage with staff in fun ways. One of our clients is launching a coffee cart for their employees and assigning people from the executive team to serve people for a couple hours. Imagine getting served a cappuccino by your CEO! Not only will employees get face time with key leadership, they’ll feel more valued by the organization. 
    2. Put leadership and frontline staff on the same team. Organizations often include some sort of interactive game at events or icebreaker exercise in meetings. Why not put people in teams and mix up the hierarchy? It encourages bonding and creates a shared goal between leadership and employees. Plus, at the office the next day, employees will have something to talk about with the leadership team. 
    3. Create a reverse mentorship program. A reverse mentor program provides opportunities for younger, less seasoned employees to provide their insight to those higher up in the organization. Not only does this foster new and innovative ideas that benefit the company, it also can help break the barrier between staff entering the workforce and those who are more established. 

A final piece of advice is to start the relationship building process when an employee is first onboarded. This is the time to send the message around how leadership interacts with staff – you want them to know leadership is on their side. 

We’ll be sharing a ton of ways to communicate company culture through your onboarding process on our upcoming free webinar, Using Your Employee Onboarding Program to Reinforce Company Culture. It’s on October 11th at 11am PST. 

It’s part of a Culture Forward webinar series we are hosting starting September 14th,  to share anything and everything we know about ingraining culture into organizational systems to attract and retain valuable staff. Plus, each webinar is worth one SHRM PDC! 

Click here to learn more about our other programs and, of course, register for any or all of them! 

We hope to see you there! 



Rebecca & The Civility Partners Team 


P.S. As a bonus for our folks in CA, we are offering a free California compliant Harassment Prevention Training as part of the series, to ensure your workforce is all up to date. 

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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