Employees don’t feel empowered to speak up, even when they really should, says a new book Speak Up – Say what needs to be said and hear what needs to be heard, written by Professor Megan Reitz, of the Ashridge Hult Business School, and John Higgins, Research Director at The Right Conversation. The research covers more than 4000 employees at every level of a business. The goal: To examine why it is critical for leaders to encourage their employees to communicate.
Here are some surprising findings from the study:
- 1 in 4 junior employees think they would be punished if they spoke up about a problem at work
- 8% of employees are keeping quiet about something they know will harm the company
- Only half of employees feel able to share an idea which might benefit their business
All that adds up to two concerns: One, employees are staying silent on issues, even ethical, criminal and safety issues that could severely damage the business. Two, organizations are missing out on some golden ideas that could improve their efficiency, productivity and profitability.
It’s time to start focusing on communication
It’s possible those statistics don’t apply to your organization, BUT if people don’t feel they can share their real opinions, how would you even know? It’s best to ensure that they feel empowered to speak up, even about the bad stuff. That starts by building their trust and fostering open, honest communication.
Here are some resources that will help you do that:
How to Encourage Employees to Speak Up
10 Steps to Gain (or Regain) Your Employees’ Trust
Building Trust With New Employees
9 Communication Tips You Need to Master if You Want to Lead
When You Catch an Employee in a Lie
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