More CEOs and leaders creating one-on-one time with employees

A rising number of leaders cite one-on-one communication and empathy as a key trait to break down barriers between managers and employees.
By: | September 25, 2023

Hans Vestberg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Verizon Communications, believes that a simple check-in on his employees via phone calls has been helpful to break down the barrier between himself and his colleagues.

“On the back of my [work] badge, I have 30 names. These are the people that make a difference, that I need to know at Verizon, internal or external,” Vestberg explained at the Fast Company Innovation Festival 2023, adding that talking to each of those people once a week translates to “110% of effort” from his employees.

The conversations between Vestberg and his employees include celebrating the good work done by the employees, as well as checking in on their welfare and the projects they are currently working on, reported CNBC Make It.

Vestberg is one of a growing number of bosses who take time to talk to their employees one on one: Doug Hirsch, co-CEO of GoodRX, for example, takes a 45-minute informal walk around the block with one of his nearly 800 employees, calling it a great way of “climbing over that barrier” between himself and his employees. “They also feel more comfortable sharing their ideas with me, and some end up being really great,” he shared.

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CEOs such as Vestberg and Hirsch are citing communication and empathy as an essential skill in today’s workplace, with others like Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor crediting them as the reason they became leaders.

“In terms of getting me to where I am now, empathy is key,” Taylor said. “The way that you communicate with people, the way that you show that you care, the way that you show that you want to help build people up and empower them, those all go a long way.”