What's the Purpose of Skip-Level Meetings?

What’s the Purpose of Skip-Level Meetings?

From better team communication to increased support for managers and team members, here are 11 answers to the question, “What is the purpose of skip-level meetings?”

  • Understanding Teams Better
  • Practicing Workplace Transparency
  • Ensure Bottom Line Aligns With the Company’s Vision
  • Help You Stay Connected
  • Get Unfiltered Feedback
  • Hold First-Line Managers Accountable
  • Bridge Gaps of Disconnect
  • Update Management on the Effects of Their Decisions
  • Build Trust and Gain Perspective
  • Strengthen Bonds and Improve Work Relationships
  • Increase Engagement, Satisfaction, and Performance

Understand Teams Better

By talking to employees who don’t directly report to them, leaders can get richer insights into their team’s challenges and roadblocks they often should know. Such insights can even contribute to changes in organizational processes that would otherwise stay the same. These meetings help managers to grasp the details of the dilemmas their teams face, instead of just focusing on the overall concept.

Also, skip-level meetings foster relationship building and lead to better team communication. It’s an excellent opportunity for managers and other team members to get to know each other better and share creative ideas that often get lost in our hectic schedules.

Dorota LysieniaDorota Lysienia
Community Manager, LiveCareer

Practice Workplace Transparency

When managers or leaders conduct skip-level meetings, they reiterate to the workforce that, despite the hierarchy, the organization commits to transparency in management.

In a skip-level forum, senior leaders and managers who may not be in constant touch with a section of the workforce now engage with these employees.

The meeting could be a close-ended one, with only a few important announcements being made, or it could be a highly interactive one, where employees put forth their issues and seek resolutions. Whatever the agenda of a skip-level meeting may be, it certainly relays the organization’s willingness and commitment to bypassing any rigid hierarchy should such a need occur.

Riley BeamRiley Beam
Managing Attorney, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.

Ensure Bottom Line Aligns With the Company’s Vision

Skip-level meetings serve a very important purpose—to ensure that everyone in the company is working towards the same goals and vision. It’s a kind of audit—like quality assurance for a product or service.

By having these meetings, the leadership team can make sure that their vision is being properly communicated down the chain of command and that everyone agrees. It’s also beneficial to the employees, as it allows them to give feedback and express their own ideas about how to improve the company.

Shaun ConnellShaun Connell
Founder, Writing Tips Institute

Help You Stay Connected

It is an effective method to gather feedback on your direct report and their leadership skills, providing opportunities to recognize them and/or adjust your coaching strategy. If there is a problem with their leadership, a skip-level will help you identify and correct it proactively, before you lose employees.

The skip-level also allows you to build a relationship with your team that runs more than one level deep, which, in return, will build their confidence in your leadership, increase your approachability, and improve morale. Employees who feel leadership cares about them are more likely to keep.

A skip-level is a great opportunity to hear new ideas that may not make it up the chain, understand their challenges, and identify how you can better support them. The skip-level meeting is versatile with many benefits.

Michelle RubioMichelle Rubio
HR Director, Risas Dental

Get Unfiltered Feedback

One of the major benefits of skip-level meetings is the ability to get unfiltered feedback from your employees. These meetings, apart from being a fantastic opportunity to receive feedback, also help both sides become better managers and also get to know each other, and build rapport.

Gordana SretenovicGordana Sretenovic
Co-Founder, Workello

Hold First-Line Managers Accountable

All poor managers have one thing in common: they feel untouchable. They abuse their power, intimidating direct reports into accepting a toxic status quo without fear of reprisal. This gives them the freedom to misbehave, harming the organization, team, and the well-being of individual employees.

Skip-level meetings, however, keep line managers accountable by giving employees the ability to complain. They can literally escalate issues to their manager’s manager, providing an avenue to report poor management practices. This keeps managers from overextending their power, providing tangible consequences for their actions. Organizations should strongly encourage skip-level meetings to keep first-line managers in check.

Ben SchwenckeBen Schwencke
Business Psychologist, Test Partnership

Bridge Gaps of Disconnect

This is an important tool for understanding different perspectives across the organization and fostering communication between team members at different levels.

They give senior leaders the opportunity to meet and interact with employees from different parts of the organization who may not normally have the chance to interact. This helps senior leaders gain insight into how employees are feeling and what their ideas, needs, and questions may be.

Gabriel BognerGabriel Bogner
Co-Founder, Mate Fertility

Update Management on the Effects of Their Decisions

Skip-level meetings are important for two reasons. The first reason is that they help upper-level executives understand how their decisions affect the people at lower levels. The second reason is that they give employees a chance to tell upper management their thoughts and feelings without going through their boss.

These meetings can be with one person (one-on-one) or a group. You should feel comfortable telling the truth in the meeting, so one-on-one meetings are usually the most effective for this purpose. The meetings can help people in the organization trust each other more. This is because people can talk openly about what is going on.

Roksana BieleckaRoksana Bielecka
Community Manager, Resume Help

Build Trust and Gain Perspective

Skip-level meetings are a great tool to familiarize yourself with the challenges of your non-direct employees. Often, these employees are consumer-facing, and their challenges and feedback can affect your business, processes, and culture.

Creating a space for open communication with employees you’re not usually interacting with will also help them feel seen and valued, allowing both sides to gain a different perspective on the company.

Inbar MadarInbar Madar
Founder and Business Consultant, MI Business Consulting

Strengthen Bonds and Improve Work Relationships

These meetings are a great way to build trust and strengthen relationships between senior and junior employees.

These meetings offer senior management the opportunity to understand the employees’ views, challenges, and feedback directly, with no interference from mid-level management. This helps senior management to get an honest and unbiased opinion of their workplace and employees.

It gives employees the chance to communicate their ideas and problems to top management, leading to better decision-making and employee engagement. In short, skip-level meetings are an effective tool for improving communication, understanding, and collaboration between all levels of an organization.

Ray SchultzRay Schultz
VP of Marketing, Liquid Rubber

Increase Engagement, Satisfaction, and Performance

If you manage managers, you have a unique opportunity to coach and mentor and to affect your organization’s future leaders. Support your managers equitably by providing each manager the support they need depending on where they are in their careers.

One tangible way to do this is to meet with each of their direct reports regularly (at least semi-annually). In these skip-level meetings, ask the team member what has been going well, what could be better, and where they see themselves in 1-2 years.

Katrina MagdolKatrina Magdol
Consultant, Fractional CHRO COS, and Coach, Amalou Consulting

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