Why employees don't speak up anymore?

Employees don't speak up anymore for a variety of reasons. 

You might find the following situations common:

  • had a bad experience, they are being silenced.

  • gave up reporting because no appropriate follow up action was taken.

  • are afraid of losing their job if they said something offensive or unpleasant to the management.

The risk to you is that when employees don't speak up, you lose insight to your organisation’s health. This is extremely dangerous for all companies, not knowing what may be brewing within your organisation does not allow you to address it in any timely manner. Any misconduct or fraud can bring down your business. It is like driving at a high speed without noticing that a tire is flat.

If your employee speaks up, don't silence them. Instead, you must take appropriate follow-up action. Ignoring a reported incident of misconduct can be a high and costly price you pay when things go wrong in your organisation.

A recent report stated that 20,000 Google employees (~25% of the Google employee base) walked out from work to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a non-inclusive workplace culture. The problem is a part of a longstanding pattern in a toxic work culture and Google employees want to see real change in the workplace. This should serve as a signal to all organisations that they need to pay attention to their employees and take appropriate action.

To get your employees to start being honest and share their thoughts and ideas with you, you must:

  1. Get started with management and HR.

    Set policies and guidelines for employee management. Train managers to respect and treat employee fairly and with respect. Many employees currently believe it is better saying nothing, rather than risk being perceived as negative and to avoid any retaliation. Top and middle management should be leading through example, speaking up when they see something that impacts their employees and organisation.

  2. Show how your organisation follows up on reports and concerns - in a fair and prompt manner.

    If you want your employees to trust and be honest with you, then you must be consistent and commit to following-up on any issue that they report or comes to your attention. Be transparent and frequently share report statistics, findings and resolutions. Highlight how your organisation has benefited through the reporting and follow up of these concerns. The more employees see the value of their input through consistent company actions, the more they will be willing to share concerns.

  3. Have a reporting mechanism that works for everyone.

    The reporting mechanism must be easy to access by anyone and from anywhere. Language support is required if you are a multi-nation organisation.

  4. Confidentiality and anonymity.

    Your reporting mechanism should allow employees to report anonymously if they prefer. The confidentiality and anonymity of a reporting system helps to build confidence in reporting misconduct without fear for their jobs. Learn what HR and employees can do with an anonymous reporting platform.

  5. Reward employee for constructive feedback.

    Building a healthy workplace is not a sole effort from management or HR. Employees need to know that they are playing a major role in setting the path to success. Give considerable rewards, praise or recognition to encourage your employees to report misconduct and accept positive or negative feedback. Award employees for constructive feedback which is impactful in building a safer, more stable and positive workplace.

  6. Don't forget to promote your reporting program.

    Develop positive messages and marketing awareness campaigns. Your program plays a big part in building a healthy culture in the organisation. Encourage employees to report when they see something. Sharing is Caring. Help your employee to help themselves in cultivating a safe, stable and positive workplace.

For more information on how to develop an effective hotline:

How can we help

The Red Flag Group® has many years’ experience in developing programmes related to workplace harassment as well as whistleblowing. We also provide hotline and training services to support the successful operation of your programmes.

If you wish to understand more about effective hotline and case management products, schedule a call with us.

mike chew