A phrase my company coined around skip-level management is Corporate Grandparenting, and it's a free retention tool many companies don't utilize.  

Corporate grandparenting, or skip-level management, is when a business executive spends time with someone who is two layers below them. The CFO spending time with an accountant; the CMO with the marketing coordinator; the VP of Sales with a sales manager.  

Taking it back to a familial comparison, parents raise their children and are responsible for the day-to-day nuances of managing their kids, like making sure they brush their teeth; that they do their homework and eat all their vegetables. But the opportunities kids get in learning from their grandparents is invaluable. It may just be over the weekends, once a summer, a dinner every few months, or even just seeing them during the holidays; however, time spent with someone one generation removed, someone who isn't managing the day-to-day, is very impactful.  

Kids who have had great relationships with their grandparents talk about those experiences in glowing terms. Grandparents have more of a philosophical approach. They're painting a bigger picture and teaching through personal experiences and stories. It's less of do this and do that.  

It's the same when it comes to the conversations between executive leaders and those two layers below. They're teaching and educating through experiences. They're focused on showing the employee what their career path could look like. They're talking about company values and how to develop as a professional. While it may be just 10 minutes a month, a week or a quarter, don't lose sight of how impactful that time can be.  

This only is possible with the right managers and the right leadership team - who both care about retaining and developing staff.  This won't work if managers are territorial or compartmentalize relationships.    

If you like this post, follow @TomGimbel for more.