Getting to the Truth of Employee Engagement by Promoting Anonymous Feedback
It's been said that “effective communication is the key to organizational success.” But what is it about the relationship between management and employees that can hamper any real communication?
Historically, employee engagement has been at an all-time low for many organizations. You’ve probably seen the sad statistics. Only around one-third of the workforce is engaged at any one time, while the rest seeks their escape plan.
Yet, there has been a big push for employees to have a positive experience and to make cultures better. This can only happen if employees are brave enough to be advocates for themselves and state their needs -- an action that very seldom occurs.
The problem is, leaders have no real visibility of what their employees are experiencing if they are not being honest about things.
Why employees don’t speak up more
There are a couple of reasons why most employees won’t speak up at work when they are unhappy.
Number one, they don’t want to look like attention-seeking whiners who can’t handle the job. No one wants to be that person.
Then there’s the other issue - fear.
We met with Adelina Chalmers, otherwise known as The Geek Whisperer®, who told us, “one of the biggest problems with getting employees to speak up is their fear of repercussion.” If an employee speaks up and shares what they want, how this information is received by management, followed by the response, will dictate future actions. Employees who have seen their peers ignored or worse yet, labeled as troublemakers are apt to never speak up.
Pretty soon the word gets out that the culture of the organization is unforgiving to those who speak up and the employer doesn’t care what employees need to be happy and productive.
This essentially defeats the purpose of monitoring employee engagement. Plus, it creates major communication barriers that impact other areas of the business.
What can help employees feel comfortable with giving honest feedback?
The onus is on employers to help make the workplace an environment where communication is valued. Whether it’s positive or negative, how else can employers know what to focus on to improve things?
According to Chalmers, this requires “psychological safety” that is projected and created by the management team. Psychological safety is being confident that you won’t be shamed, embarrassed or rejected for speaking truth to peers and those in power.
Chalmers gives managers permission to be vulnerable. She told us, “Leaders should be the first to open up about times when they didn't know something, were wrong or failed. Show from the top there is no shame in admitting you made a mistake. Encourage people to ask and receive feedback or help and praise publicly and actively those who do. It’s crucial to praise someone for telling you something that you might not want to hear but that is helping you progress.”
Anonymity and trust are critical in employee engagement management
A solution to helping employees overcome their fears of making suggestions or offering feedback to employers is the element of anonymity. When employees know their identification will be protected, they are more likely to share.
How do you ensure employees will trust that it is anonymous? You can actually show employees what their manager will see when a message is received. You can also show a legal clause that the company signed a contract to keep all names and identifying data secret.
Thymometrics’ real-time employee engagement platform has placed a focus on facilitating secure and anonymous communication between employees and employers. In fact, we are still one of the only employee experience providers who offer this feature.
More truth means more accurate tracking and action
If employee engagement data is given with honesty by employees, then it becomes clearer what the company needs to work on to improve the experience of its workforce. The closer to the truth; the more accurate the data is.
This enables employers to make a real difference in the lives of its employees, narrowing down to what really matters.
Thymometrics - through real time, always-on surveys and feedback solutions, we provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees and monitor wellbeing whilst providing managers with deep and useable insights to improve business culture, productivity and profitability. Contact us to see how you can use our anonymous tools to create an open and honest environment that breeds success.
Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System on Unsplash