The higher you climb the ladder in your job, the more important skip level meetings become for you!
It is crucial to establish connection with the employees from bottom to top of your organization. Moreover, one should be aware of the changes or improvements that are happening in the day-to-day work environment. In brief, you need to see the organization from their perspective to scale your business to new heights.
Well, this is what skip level meetings are for! Essentially, these meetings help you create a strong bond with employees at all levels in your organization. Let us now deep dive into the details related to skip level meetings!
What are Skip Level Meetings?
As the name implies, a skip level meeting is a meeting where senior leaders of the organization ‘skips’ down a level to interact with people directly, without the manager being involved. These meetings are conducted quite satisfactorily by the leader in accordance with the company’s rules. However, it should be planned well, or it can turn out to be very risky.
Skip level meetings are indeed a great way for leaders to get an idea of how the middle management is functioning and at the same time get a quick idea on the general interest/satisfaction level of the team. These meetings should be in fact encouraged to ensure transparency in an organization.
Purpose of Skip-Level Meetings
Skip level discussion is a variant of one-on-one meeting that you most probably already be doing with your direct reporting manager. However, in a hierarchical organization structure, there might be several layers of management between you and the person reporting directly to you. This is where skip level meetings prove to be useful. Here are some of the major purpose of skip meets
- To build rapport with staff members in your team who don’t directly report to you.
- Get accurate feedback about the managers that you manage (and even yourself)
- Gain valuable insights into your organization, team, and day to day activities
- Build trust with lower levels in the organization so that they stay as a contributing member
Anatomy of a Skip-Level Meeting
While there are tons of things that determine the agenda of a skip level meeting, the key components include:
- Meeting frequency
You must know how to put the practices in place to enable effective communication. Nevertheless, don’t try to complicate stuff. Generally, the frequency of skip level meetings is determined by the size of the organization, company’s need & more.
Mostly mid-sized companies hold skip level discussion once every quarter while large companies generally prefer to do it every 30 days. Remember, if you do it frequently, you can expect better input from employees over time.
- Make a schedule
It is recommended to companies to add skip level discussion to their agenda every 30 days. An easy to remember schedule makes it convenient for both the managers and employees to prepare well for the meeting.
- Follow basic question template
Remember to keep things simple in a meeting with the kind of questions you ask. We recommend asking you questions like:
- What obstacles are employees facing in the job, if any?
- What would make work better for them?
- How they are feeling about the job responsibility and so on.
You can find a detailed list of questions to ask during the meetings later in this article.
- Taking feedback
It is important to get a perspective on how things are functioning at the company from ground level. The staff might not open up, however, you need to do your best to make them comfortable.
- Take notes
Effective notes taking during skip level meeting will help you recall information faster. Moreover, it signifies that you listen to what people have to say and really want to take action based on someone’s feedback.
- Wrap up
Thank everyone present in the meeting for their time and participation, share your next steps, and show respect by concluding the meeting on time.
After the meeting has concluded, share a follow up email to all attendees highlighting the important points of discussion during the meeting. And if there are any actions needed on your end, provide them with a realistic timeline.
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Tips for Conducting Skip Level Meetings
Here are some helpful tips you must know for implementing skip level discussion!
- Schedule a meeting with everyone
As a leader, skip level meetings are a perfect way to leverage the power you have to build connection and gather information that will ultimately help you make better decisions. Hence, it is important that you interact with everyone in the organization.
- Keep your employee’s manager out of the loop
Tell your employee’s supervisor beforehand that you will be meeting with their subordinates. A good way to go about it is by sending the agenda for your skip level discussion. Remember that these meetings are not meant to be a secretive one. The purpose is to establish better connection with all the employees in an organization.
- Make the attendees feel comfortable
For starters, don’t expect your employees to be upfront with their opinions. If they have something that isn’t very positive to share, it might not come out immediately in front of you. To remedy this, try engaging with them more often in order to make them feel more comfortable with you during the meetings.
Benefits of Conducting Skip Level Meetings
There are numerous benefits of holding skip level meeting with your team. Some of the top ones are:
- Effective communication
Skip meetings are all about improving the flow of communication. It makes it possible for employees to go right to the top management with any query, or general feedback that they might have. They also ensure that the team has access to similar information and that nothing gets misinterpreted.
- Build strong relationships
Skip level meetings make it possible for leaders to have open and honest communication with all types of people at the organization. This build a foundation of trust and employees feel that they are valued, and their voice is being heard with the senior level leaders of the business.
- Improves employee engagement
Meetings are one of the best ways to increase employee engagement. Skip meetings ensure that all team members are on the same page and that everyone has a chance to voice their opinion. This in turn supports transparency in the workplace.
- Boost innovation
Innovations are likely to happen in organizations where team members collaborate and work together as one. And skip level meetings can be helpful in this regard. It helps create a safe and open environment for employees to share ideas.
- Help leaders make good decisions
In order to make good decisions, leaders need to know what’s happening at the lower levels. And that’s where the benefit of skip level meetings come into play. They also need information to provide productive feedback to the managers.
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Skip Level Meeting Invite Samples
This sample email will help you prepare a great meeting invite! Have a look!
I wanted to let you know that I’ll be implementing skip level meetings going forward. This will be a wonderful chance to get to know each other and hear your perspective/feedback on how things are functioning in the organization.
I’ll be happy to listen to your thoughts and ideas on our organizational culture, strategy, and general feedback on your manager.
I look forward to connecting with you on [Date and time].
Questions to Ask During Skip Level Meetings
Beyond establishing a clear plan, skip level meetings requires you to ask good questions. If you are wondering what questions to ask in skip level meeting, we have listed down some popular questions here for your quick reference.
For building connection:
- What’s something that has inspired you at work lately?
- What brought you to this company position?
- What’s your favorite thing about this role?
For gathering feedback on organization:
- If given a chance, what’s one thing that you would like to do differently here?
- If you could fix any process in the organization, what would it be?
- What’s something about the company culture that you love and why?
For gathering feedback on manager:
- What would you do if you were in the role of your manager?
- How effective do you think your manager is at managing the team?
- What is the thing that you like the most about working with your manager?
While all these questions are important, don’t forget to make time for employees to add any topic they’d like to talk about. At the end, your goal is to get their unfiltered information/ feedback!
Tools to Help You with Skip Level Meetings
Undoubtedly, skip level meetings are one of the best ways to get detailed feedback/insights about your company. However, if you happen to schedule these meetings manually, it can be quite a tedious process. In this section, we have listed down tools that will help you conduct skip level discussion smoothly!
Video Conferencing Software
Know the best video conferencing tools that will help you run an effective skip level discussion!
Zoom Meets is a reliable video conferencing platform that covers all your communication needs in one place – chat, phone, webinars. The software support real time HD video conferencing and also offer collaborative tools for users like enabling screen sharing.
Microsoft Teams is a real time collaborative workspace that allow offices to work from anywhere efficiently. This software provides high quality video conferencing to phone calls, meetings, files, chats & more. Not only this, but users can also share screen during presentation making it easier for the team to follow along.
An all-in-one productivity apps for business of all sizes – Google Workspace is a collection of collaboration tools and software. It includes Meet, Gmail, Drive & more!
These are the best note taking apps that will make it easy for you to take notes during the meeting.
Microsoft OneNote is a digital notebook wherein you can capture your thoughts, ideas, and sync them to your devices. The best part is it does not expire and hence you can continue using it for as long as you like!
So, gather your thoughts or take down notes during meeting easily with OneNote. It is available on Web, Windows Store, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android!
Evernote is a powerful tool designed for note taking, organizing & more. This tool helps you capture and arrange your thoughts well and keep important information handy even after the meeting. Moreover, you can highlight important part in your notes by adding images, tasks, audio or scan.
- Google Keep
Google Keep is a leading note taking tool that makes it easy for you to capture a thought or list important points in the meeting and share with others. This note taking service easily allows you to take down notes, edit, share and collaborate with anyone and anytime.
Looking for the best calendar scheduling tools to organize your day at work? Read on!
It is a simple to use best scheduling software designed especially for agencies, startups, SMBs. Not only does this software helps with notifications, daily limit, admin features but also assists in customization, billing and calendar.
ScheduleOnce is an online scheduling platform that works in partnership with Google Meet or Google Calendar to help your business schedule and manage online interactions. Hence, if you are looking to manage your booking schedule in a hassle-free manner, ScheduleOnce should be your pick.
Grapple is a famous task management software that helps you schedule your meetings conveniently. This app has made scheduling meetings quite easy by letting you find the best time with team members across multiple time zones.
What more? Users can select available times and schedule meetings without emailing as well as view availability of the team members all in one place.
To conclude, a skip level meeting done right is a great way to understand what’s going on across the company, topics that need immediate attention and so on. All you need to remember is these 3 key points:
- For best results, make skip level discussion a regular habit
- Communicate in advance about the meeting to the respective manager
- After the meeting is over, take some time to process information. In addition, if there is any action that needs to be taken, share a realistic timeline with the team!
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Skip Level Meeting Questions:
- What is the skip level meeting agenda?
The agenda of skip level meeting is to build connection and improve communication flow across the organization. These meetings are a wonderful opportunity for senior managers to talk to employees freely and in a safe environment.
- What should I name my skip level meeting?
You can name your meeting whatever you think will attract the interests of employees. Safe Spaces, More Than a Meeting, Quick Sync Up are a few skip level meeting name ideas.
- What is the purpose of skip level meeting?
The purpose of skip level meeting is to get an understanding of how the employees really feel about the work, team and organization in general. These meetings are equally beneficial for the employees as well because it gives them the opportunity to ask valuable questions that help them with their own project!
- How to get ready for a skip level meeting as an employee?
When preparing for skip level interview as an employee, you must know who you’re meeting. Secondly, prepare a list of things that you love about the organization or have suggestions as to what could improve.
- What are the benefits of conducting skip level meetings with boss's boss?
A skip level meeting improves the flow of communication by enabling unfiltered information to flow effectively from the ground to top. This helps the top management to know what’s going on in the company currently!
- How to Use Skip-Level Meetings Effectively?
Skip level meetings are one of the best ways to get honest feedback from employees about the organization, work environment amongst other things. Organizations can use these insights to make informed decisions at the workplace!