Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, recently named its 2019 Top CEOs across North America and parts of Europe, as part of its annual Employees’ Choice Awards. Twelve YPO members were among those recognized.
The Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards are based on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their CEO’s leadership, along with insights into their job, work environment and employer.
As trust in senior leadership consistently ranks as a top factor that contributes to employee engagement in the workplace, Ignite asked some of this year’s YPO winners for their leadership advice on scaling trust as a CEO.
Robert Faith, CEO Greystar Real Estate Partners
My thoughts on building trust is you have to live it. If you say as a firm these are our pillars and core values, you have to work to make those at the forefront of all decisions. In our year-end reviews, we have each team speak to how they lived up to or fell short to upholding our pillars each year — putting that emphasis on it has always been a gamechanger for building the culture we aim for.
Robert Glazer, Founder & CEO, Acceleration Partners
One of the most important attributes for building trust in an organization is authenticity. If a company’s core values are ambiguous, the culture they develop will be too. Leaders lose trust when there is a disconnect between what is talked about and the reality of employees’ day-to-day. Authenticity starts with the leader and creating alignment between what we are doing, where we are going and what the business is about. We look for team members who share our values and vision and the people who love working here embrace that alignment and integrity. They feel they have a sense of purpose and genuinely exemplify our core values. Authenticity is a key reason why people are drawn to work at Acceleration Partners.
Steven C. Bilt, CEO Smile Brands Inc.
I have found a useful mental model for scaling trust is to analogize my role in a different way. Using government as the metaphor, it is natural to compare the CEO position to the president. When operating a company at scale, I have found more useful to link the role to that of a Supreme Court justice. Rather than focusing exclusively on making a decision to get the ‘right’ answer for the problem at hand, it is more important to get the precedent right. More simply, the process, the how and the why, such that those around you have a model for the thousands of decisions that get made when you aren’t in the room.
Marc-Etienne Julien, CEO Randstad Canada
In my opinion, developing organizational trust starts with having a leadership team that is aligned and accountable to the overall company mission and of course supported by a culture of openness and transparency across all levels in the organization!
James Reed, CEO Reed Executive
At Reed, we have a simple purpose that everyone can get behind, which is ‘improving lives through work.’ This applies as much to the people who work in the organization as it does to those who work with it. We also believe in the fundamental importance of inclusion and belonging. To me, the company is like an extended family, so we invest a lot in learning and development, and we have our own business school. It’s important that people are happy and fulfilled at work. The Reed message is ‘Love Mondays.’ We do our best to make this happen.
Karen Flavelle, CEO RC Purdy Chocolates Ltd.
When ideas are brought forward, respond with a ‘Yes’ attitude. Be encouraging while using questions to help the team delve deeper into the exploration of the ideas.
David Baiada, BAYADA Home Health Care
At BAYADA, we’re attracting like-minded and like-hearted individuals with a passion for helping others; I feel a deep, personal responsibility to make sure our employees have the support, tools and resources to nurture, embody and uphold our culture … when employees are thinking of our underlying values and living up to ‘what good looks like,’ it creates a sense of connectedness to the work and to each other, and reinforces the purpose behind what we do.
Gary Storm, CEO vCom Solutions Inc.
I think the best way to scale trust is to practice our three core values here at vCom: vulnerability, authenticity and transparency. And they can’t just be things you put on the wall or on t-shirts. They have to be CORE values … and the filter on which we behave and ultimately make decisions. Both internally and externally. And it starts at the top … leading by example. My employees have seen me practice this, so they trust in the process.
Todd Graves, Founder, CEO, Fry Cook & Cashier Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers
The No. 1 way I’ve built trust is by knowing and understanding every position and working hard to help our crew be successful. We’ve built programs such as training and recruiting as well as our Cane’s Love program of rewarding, recognizing and respecting our crew. We are all fry cooks and cashiers above all else and that has been essential in scaling trust.
YPO members Pat Bauer, CEO Heartland Dental Care, Inc., Michael Hansen, CEO Cengage Learning and Dan Snyder, CEO Homeside Financial are also recipients of Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards for Top CEOs of 2019.