A speak up culture helps bring your team closer together and improves your business. However, many employees don’t feel comfortable or safe speaking up.
Whether it’s just sharing ideas or something bigger like reporting harassment, every business should focus on creating a workplace culture where speaking up is praised and encouraged.
Actively Ask Employees To Speak Up
The easiest way to create a speak up culture is to ask employees directly if they have any feedback or concerns. You can ask as a group or individually. Supervisors and managers might even dedicate a day each week to asking employees to come in one by one to talk about anything that’s been going on. Allow employees to go to different managers, though, in case there is an issue with their current manager.
Ask Questions And Actively Investigate Concerns
Having a speak up culture doesn’t work if no one is listening. Employees want more than just a friendly ear. They want whatever issues are going on to stop. Maybe they’re seeing a co-worker being held back due to race or gender. Or, perhaps they’re being asked to do something questionable with company finances.
To encourage speaking up, you have to do your part to ensure concerns are addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. This means taking the time to ask questions and get all the information you need to investigate.
Then, perform a thorough, yet discreet investigation. Follow-up with the employee to let them know what happened. You can also encourage them to report back if they experience any retaliation or other issues.
Implement An Ethics Hotline
Employees aren’t always comfortable speaking to someone directly. Usually, employees don’t speak up either because the person they’re reporting to is the problem or they’re afraid of retaliation.
Implementing an ethics hotline provides a much safer alternative. Employees report anonymously and safely. While there’s still some chance of retaliation, it’s much less likely.
Ensure you provide adequate training on how to use the system, how people are protected and how investigations are handled.
When someone does speak up, praise them. Thank them, either privately or publicly, when they report an issue that helps make your business a better place. Knowing that employees are supported helps encourage a speak up culture.
Plus, if others see that it’s okay to report concerns, they’ll feel much more comfortable doing the same. After all, without whistleblowers, it’s hard to make your business as great as it could be.
Offer Other Ways To Speak Up
While it’s important to encourage employees to speak up when it comes to ethical issues, sometimes, you have to build confidence in other ways. Create a full speak up culture where employees are encouraged to share ideas, learn from mistakes and even ask for help as needed.
Making employees feel more comfortable speaking up about other things at work makes them more likely to speak up when something’s wrong. They’ll also be more trusting and know that it’s safe to speak up to help create a better workplace.