Top Ten Tips... Building an Open, Honest Culture in the Workplace

Top Ten Tips... Building an Open, Honest Culture in the Workplace

There has been a lot of discussion in the news lately regarding whistleblowing and complaints procedures, after an ex-employee of Facebook spoke out about the company’s poor practices.

Many organisations, however, understand that to avoid situations such as this, it’s vital to establish a culture that allows open, honest feedback and transparency within the company – especially when it comes to the raising of issues and concerns.

Read on for our Top Ten Tips for building an open, honest culture in the workplace...

1. Set a good example

By holding yourself, and your fellow managers, to a high moral and ethical standard, you will help provide your employees with a strong example of what you expect from everyone in the company. Lead by example and lay the groundwork by voicing honest feedback with your workers. This will show your team that they should feel comfortable speaking up to share their concerns and ideas.

2. Listen to each other

This one might seem like a no-brainer but knowing how to actively listen, without judgement is an invaluable skill for leaders to possess. A true dialogue can only take place if both sides are listening! It’s vital that your employees feel that they can come forward without judgement and that their manager is showing a genuine interest in their thoughts and opinions.

3. Actions speak louder than words

Your employees need to know that they’re being heard so make sure they see some kind of action associated with the feedback they give you. In order to develop a transparent culture within the company, it’s essential that your employees talk about their issues. If your staff feel that they can give direct and honest feedback and know that it will be heard and positive actions will be taken – then you’re off to a great start.

4. Communication is key!

It doesn’t really matter how you choose to communicate with your team but it is important that you make a commitment to celebrate open, honest conversations. Communication is a key factor in keeping a workplace free from rumours, negativity and dishonesty. Encourage your managers to have an open-door policy and make sure everyone knows they can come to you for any guidance and support they may need.

Related: Developing Emotional Intelligence at Work

5. Hold regular meetings

Holding regular, scheduled meetings is a great way to share what’s going on with the business and make your employees feel like a valued part of the team, rather than just cogs in the wheel. By sharing important updates with your employees as and when they take place, you can set the tone for the whole company and encourage individuals to feel that they can do the same.

6. Provide multiple ways to give feedback

If any of your employees should be unhappy with a certain part of their job or feel they have any concerns to raise, it’s better to deal with these as soon as possible. Make sure your team has plenty of opportunities to provide feedback and in a variety of different ways. Some employees may prefer to discuss things directly with a manager and some may prefer to stay anonymous. Why not try weekly meetings or a suggestion box?

7. Be transparent – share the ups and downs

No one wants to be the bearer of bad news and this might mean that you’re tempted to only share the good news with your team. However, you’re also responsible for sharing any challenges and obstacles that the business is facing. Communicating any setbacks to your employees can actually be a great opportunity to listen to any helpful suggestions people may have. The last thing you want is for the team to be caught off-guard by anything serious such as redundancies.

Related: Dealing with Bullying in the Workplace

8. Establish a whistleblowing policy

Although UK law does not require businesses to have a whistleblowing policy in place, by doing so you are showing that your organisation is commitment to listening to the concerns of its workers. This is an extra step towards creating an open, transparent and safe working environment where your team feel they can speak up.

For more guidance on whistleblowing, look at these resources from the CIPD

9. Think of complaints as valuable data

As a manager, it can be easy to take complaints personally, especially if you are trying your best to run things smoothly. Why not try thinking of the complaints as data points instead? Explore the information behind the complaint and understand that it can provide valuable information and new insights about the business. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for suggestions for improvement! It will teach your team that they can do the same.

10. Don’t bury your head in the sand

As a leader, you often have to make tough decisions and it is your responsibility to try and resolve workplace conflicts to the best of your ability. By addressing any concerns that are brought to your attention, you are letting the team know that they can trust you with their problems and concerns.

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