From the July 2002 issue of Entrepreneur

Spending time with your employees is one of the best ways to convince them you care, says human resources consultant Kevin Sheridan. He recently analyzed almost half a million employee surveys showing satisfaction with the boss's presence in the workplace corresponded closely with perceiving that the employer cares.

Sound like a problem for big, impersonal companies? Not so. Sheridan surveyed his own employees at the 20-person HR Solutions Inc. in Chicago and found they craved more face time. Now he makes a point to attend staff meetings.

That's one solution. "The other, old school but underutilized method is walking around," Sheridan says. "Spend time each day or week visiting departments."

Sheridan cites the example of East Alabama Medical Center CEO Terry Andrus, who spends four hours a day walking the hospital's floors. That's one reason the company (No. 36) beat out Microsoft (No. 37) on Fortune magazine's list of the 100 best companies to work for.

But don't have the whole management team swarming over employees, says Sheridan. "It's better to be alone," he says. "[You have] a lot more opportunity to connect individually."


Business writer Chris Sandlund works out of Cold Spring, New York.

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