If you run a large organization or lead multiple teams, chances are you will encounter issues or challenges among your employees. Employees might be dealing with harassment, concern with their manager, or unease for the public’s safety with a product. Or perhaps employees have creative ideas they want to share.
Whatever the issue, employees need a non-combative, relaxed atmosphere to voice their concerns or express ideas they have for making something better or safer.
Where can employees turn?
The policies in many companies stress the need to seek out assistance from human resources. However, HR is not always in tune with how other departments operate. That is not to say they are unable to help, but because HR is more about policy and payroll rather than a place to generate ideas, that is not always the best place to turn. Plus, since HR is a part of the company, they might not be a solid support for employee ideas. Yet that is the department to which organizations tend to direct their employees.
Most organizations today say they are stressing moves toward transparency and inclusiveness within their walls. But if that is truly the case — if they are pushing honesty and openness, and embracing ideas — then the workplace should be a non-threatening environment all around…
…which means employees should be able to turn to their immediate team leader, supervisor, their supervisor’s supervisor, and the company’s executives.
Why the need for openness?
Employees need to have confidence that their complaints will not unsettle their employment status or cause needless persecution. Many “whistleblowers” will attest to the persecution, loss of rank, or loss of job simply for doing the right thing. Yet companies should be especially concerned for their reputation of trust when dealing with areas of harassment and safety.
Employees need a “safe” space and people whom they trust. If they cannot trust their managers, then concerns are never spoken and problems only worsen.
And the same goes for ideas. Organizations that thrive are the ones that give their employees opportunities to share ideas and suggestions. They put the “team” back into “teamwork,” so to say. They listen to the engineers, product developers, office personnel, and those who work directly with the product and the people so that innovative ideas will flourish.
However, this is not the case for every company. Problems worsen over time if they are not handled properly. And people with great ideas will take them to another company that will listen.
5 steps for effective communication
Here are some ideas you can implement now to make sure your employees feel they are in a secure and safe working environment:
1. Make sure the steps employees can take to voice concerns are clearly outlined in your policies. Include whom they should seek first, second, and third, depending on the issue.
2. Promote leaders who are approachable and can establish a trusting, professional relationship with their team members. Employees who feel comfortable with their leaders and managers are more apt to be open with concerns and ideas.
3. Have an independent employee advocate (or mediator) or a team of advocates available for employees who truly fear speaking out. The advocates should work to gather all the facts and help the business solve — not settle — the issue at hand.
4. Encourage innovative ideas by allowing employees to speak out during team meetings. Leaders should share their own ideas and solicit opinions, while at the same time admitting when someone else’s idea might be better suited for the situation.
5. Suggest leaders talk one-on-one with employees and incite them to share their insights and observations.
Your employees matter
Remember, in order for your organization to strengthen, you must focus first on your employees. They will make your foundation solid, and their loyalty will help you to grow.
Give them reasons to remain loyal to you by allowing them to speak freely. This will also keep them engaged with their work and inspire them to grow.
Employees need to feel safe in the environment they are in on a daily basis. They should be able to focus on their work without the added stress of sidestepping problems. If they see their employer’s commitment to keeping the environment secure and productive by taking action when problems arise, their trust in you will build. And if they can offer new ideas to help the company, well that’s an added bonus — for everyone.
(Information taken from page 6 of the report: Your company’s most important asset – and 7 reasons why it is struggling.)
How to strengthen your company’s most important asset
What is a company’s most valued asset? And how can you strengthen this?
My Free report – “Your company’s most important asset – and 7 reasons why it is struggling” – will help you understand your organization’s most valuable market of focus, the reasons why it is not solid, and where you need to look for improvement. Download it here.