Just filling your workforce with the best talent you can find is not enough. All that talent is useless unless people can communicate freely and candidly with each other in a professional manner.
In most cases, employees are afraid to provide their honest feedback to the superiors. This is due to the fear of being shot down in front of their peers or making a bad impression in the eyes of the authority figure.
Employees also tend to agree with their superior’s every decision, even if it’s a bad one. In a recent study, a boss experimented by providing his employees with a bizarre plan to meet the production budget. To his surprise, 8 out of 10 employees in his department voted in the favor of an obviously bad plan. In order for your organization to thrive, it needs to act as an organization where people culminate their efforts for the greater goal. If your employees are just agreeing with you to let you think that your decision is widely accepted, your business is in trouble because you're not getting the value of their knowledge, ideas, and insight. You need to find a way to make your employees share their opinions, instead of just telling you what they think you want to hear.
Here are some ways to do that:
1. Welcome Constructive Criticism
It’s never easy to hear someone point faults in your latest idea that you worked so hard on. But it’s important to get a second opinion and risk assessment before you proceed with a decision that’s going to affect the whole company. If you don’t agree with the criticism be neutral. If you cannot be neutral, let them know that you’d like to discuss more on the subject later. Take a break before you respond in order to be more objective with your feedback. At the end of every meeting, invite feedback from your team and let them know that your door is open for them to give it in private. Most employees feel uncomfortable criticizing the boss in front of their colleagues.
2. Create a friendly environment
Most employers don’t focus enough on the welfare of their workplace. Make sure your employees know that you care about them and the place they work in. Your goal is to make them feel comfortable when they are at work. Low morale is the greatest obstacle you will face in bringing out their potential. Keep the work environment as clean and friendly as possible. Schedule a ‘lunch and learning’ session once every week for an hour to communicate and bond with your team. Plan vacations and throw parties to create an informal and more comfortable atmosphere. Let them know that you enjoy, and want them to enjoy coming to work. This will increase employee morale and make them want to come to work.
3. Be on the lookout for harassment
Many times, the reason for tension in the workplace isn’t the boss, but the colleagues. Sexual harassment in the workplace is nothing uncommon. Signs of favoritism to one of your employees can make him/her a target for others. Nobody liked Dwight Schrute at Dunder Mifflin paper company. Acknowledge and award bright ideas, but at the same time, be considerate toward others. Bullying and harassment in the workplace can severely harm employee morale and increase turnover and absenteeism. Establish a zero-tolerance anti-harassment policy in your organization and be sure to take action against offenders.
4. Employ an Anonymous grievance management system
Whether it’s the ideas or the grievances, employees often sustain from approaching their superiors. When they are harassed, they feel persecution for raising their concerns. When they have great ideas and suggestions, they fear being shot down in front of their peers. Encourage them to file a human resources complaint. Improve your hr investigation process. Provide your employees with an Anonymous portal to submit any complaints or suggestion they may have. Implement Your Safe Hub in your organization to protect your employees and give them a voice.
5. Provide your insights
Whenever you are making a decision that immediately effects your employees, include them. You need them to respect your decisions, so provide them with the details. Let them know how you came onto the solution you are suggesting for a problem. This way they can relate to your decision and learn from your expertise.