Business leaders 'need to be visible to their workers' to encourage better performance, survey finds

Business leaders must take advantage of communication tools to keep their workforces productive, a new survey has found.

The People 1st Training Company and ICM study found that nearly one in three (31%) of the working public said that if their boss (the leader of their firm) is more visible, their business performs better.

More than one quarter of people (28%) feel better about their role and and the firm they work for if they see or hear from their company's leader, according to the research.

However, 27% of staff never see their boss, and in larger firms this increases to 43% of workers.

Director of the People 1st Training Company, Sharon Glancy, said: "A difficult business environment means tough decisions for CEOs but connecting with staff is an important part of creating a strong and positive company culture.

"Being a visible leader is not about keeping tabs on staff but creating a strong vision for the company that all staff can be part of."

Seeing those in a leadership role is set to become more important, as younger members of staff and those who use social media value hearing and seeing their boss more than older workers do.

One in three (31%) of those aged 18 to 24 said that it makes them work harder if they see or hear from their boss, but just 5% felt the same in the 55 to 64 age group.

Some 35% of workers who use social media sites think that when their firm's boss is more visible to workers, the company's performance improves.

Ms Glancy added: "Online technology such as podcasts and webinars, as well as social media channels, offer a variety of ways for leaders to stay in touch with staff that can be light touch but effective.

"With such a clear link to performance, visibility is a key element to successful leadership. Companies must ensure their training programmes support leaders - and those earmarked with leadership potential - to achieve greater agility.

"Today it's a necessity to maintain productivity while also improving communication and strengthening relationships."

Copyright Press Association 2012