Cultivating Open Communication
To attract and retain top talent, companies are focusing more on workplace culture, diversity, and employee satisfaction. This is critical as nowadays many employees place a higher value on happiness at work than solely on monetary benefits. Many organisations now openly advocate for a culture of open and honest communication, yet the majority of them do not implement it.
As it is difficult to cultivate and environment of open communication, as many individuals are hardwired to be conservative. Encouraging employees to speak up or share their ideas is the best approach for businesses to innovate, but it is not always straightforward. If you genuinely want your employees to exchange ideas and thoughts, you must walk the open communication talk.
Open Communication and Accountability
Many savvy leaders are encouraging a culture of open communication that rewards accountability and ensures the workplace stays ahead of any problems. Creating a healthy culture at the workplace isn’t just about encouraging and appreciating people to speak up – it’s also about creating the right environment for employees to be heard and valued.
Your employees might have a wide range of creative and innovative ideas in their heads, but they may not always be willing to share them. According to an Exploratory Study of Employee Silence, 50 percent of employees like to remain silent at work as they are hesitant to speak up about certain issues, ideas, opinions, or decisions.
Employees withhold their voices as they believe they will not be heard, or it would backfire and embarrass their supervisors and would certainly damage their reputations.
How to Encourage Open Communication
An excellent way to avoid silence occurring in the first place is to acknowledge and create a work atmosphere in which employees feel comfortable to speak up, share fresh ideas, and believe it will make a difference. Here are some tips to encourage your employees to speak out and express their views openly.
The best way to get employees to start expressing their thoughts is to have an open discussion in the workplace. It’s always good to discuss the problem with employees, instead of simply presenting a problem and asking for solutions. By doing this, you will empower your employees to speak through the problem in their own way.
Employers can encourage their employees to speak up by making them feel empowered – that their ideas and views genuinely count and are valued. Employees recognise that not every concept is right or workable, but they simply want to know that their suggestions are being heard by the organisation.
Even if the business can’t act on the idea, open communication and sharing your employees’ opinions in the next meeting can help prove that their thoughts are valued and respected.
Most organisations group their employees by department, which can lead to clique behaviour and hinder speaking up at all levels. To avoid this, try organising them based on the project rather than the department. This promotes a team culture among employees and reduces the ‘us versus them mentality.
Teamwork also works on a psychological level by bringing employees closer together and making them feel more confident in speaking their minds up.
Honest and open communication is crucial for a firm to be successful that can adjust swiftly to a changing market while keeping healthy, happy employees. It’s important to inspire employees to give constructive feedback by introducing effective ways such as performance reviews, employee surveys, and peer-to-peer recognition to share their opinions and ideas.
Corporate executives often misunderstand their employees’ thought processes when they ask for more recognition. Managers often assume that the employees are talking about money – ‘that they want a bonus or a raise.’ An employer needs to express gratitude towards their employees for taking the initiative on a project, for staying up late, or for putting in extra time.
These measures can lead towards promoting open communication in your organisation.
Engaging on a Personal Level
Attempt to get to know your staff beyond their job responsibilities. It’s good to engage with your employees on a personal level by asking them about their weekend plans, how their parents or children are doing, or simply asking about their dream destination. Showing some sense of interest in an employee’s personal life can make them feel more valued as human beings apart from just being an employee.
A speak-up culture at the workplace can only thrive if it is valued, prioritised, and transformed into a must-have habit that is always present and active.