Whether you work in the sanitation industry, a marketing agency, or a school, a happy workforce makes a world of difference. If managers and supervisors contribute to a toxic work environment where employees feel they aren’t respected, work operations are negatively affected. So, it is best to create a company culture based on kindness, honesty, and respect for an overall productive and healthy work environment.
When employees feel empowered to speak up and be honest, it can boost employee morale and productivity. But, it’s hard to know the right way to encourage your employees to feel like they can speak up. What does a healthy level of honesty look like in the workplace? Creating an authentic workplace environment starts from the top.
Benefits of Honesty
According to Indeed.com, a positive work environment can improve your happiness, increase your productivity and motivate those around you.
Overall, encouraging honesty in your workplace creates a safe space for your employees to share ideas, recommend helpful tips, and note when certain processes aren’t working. When workers feel valued, the whole business benefits from increased productivity and a positive environment. When employees learn to speak up and be honest, they can reap many benefits, including:
1. Boosted Integrity
It’s always frustrating to come home after a day at work where you put on a brave face and couldn’t share your genuine thoughts. These experiences can make employees feel fraudulent and defeated. However, when employees are honest at work, they feel good knowing they have told the truth. Integrity is a fantastic quality that boosts self-esteem and lends itself to leadership.
Create a space for idea generation, suggestions, and other feedback, so you’re employees can feel free to express themselves. Remember, it’s not enough to take in the feedback. Your workplace will thrive on personal feedback too. Creating a cycle of conversation will go a long way.
2. Career Growth
Most people want to improve at their jobs and earn promotions. Developing leadership qualities is necessary for workers who wish to pursue more authoritative positions. Employees who are trustworthy, honest, and aren’t afraid to speak up when something isn’t working are more likely to be promoted. If your employees learn the valuable skill of being honest in the workplace, they will have the potential for career growth in the future.
Teach employees of the importance honesty and open communication. You’ll nurture future leaders within your company, and take the first step in creating an authentic workplace environment.
3. Earned Respect
Everyone wants to feel respected, whether at work or at home. Honesty and truthfulness are some of the main characteristics that earn people’s respect. When employees are honest in the workplace, it demonstrates that they trust others to be receptive to honesty even if the information will be upsetting. No one wants to hear information through the grapevine when they could hear it directly from the source in a more respectful way.
4. Guiding Problem Solving
All businesses run into road bumps at one point or another. If employees don’t feel empowered to share their honest thoughts, problems may remain unsolved for far too long. However, when workers can talk freely about their ideas and opinions, creative problem solving is facilitated, and everyone can help bring a solution to the table.
The key here is to create an environment or forums, such as monthly or weekly meetings, suggestion boxes, or morning check-ins with employees.
How to Encourage Honesty in Your Company
It’s clear that many benefits occur when employees learn how to speak up at work. However, negative work environments usually hinder workers from feeling comfortable enough to be honest. As an owner, manager, or supervisor, it is your job to ensure your business has a healthy and supportive atmosphere that encourages everyone to be honest. Ideas to help promote honesty at your workplace include:
1. Make Your Workplace a Safe and Supportive Environment
If an employee gets laughed at, ignored, or shamed for speaking up at any point in your workplace, other workers won’t feel empowered to share their thoughts. The best way to create a safe and authentic workplace environment is to model it yourself.
Demonstrate to your employees that you’re willing to learn from anyone’s suggestions by frequently checking in and asking if anyone has ideas or complaints. Keep an open-door policy that encourages workers to stop into your office at any time to chat. Never make an employee feel like they’re unintelligent for asking questions.
2. Offer Incentives for Speaking Up
Recognizing employee engagement will encourage others to contribute as well. One way to encourage your workers to share their ideas is to offer rewards and incentives for their contributions. Ideas for rewards include:
- Gift cards
- Team outings
- Sponsored lunch
- Payment bonuses
- Free continuing education courses
- Upgraded office products
- Pet therapy days
3. Provide Helpful Criticism
Even in a safe and supportive workspace, you shouldn’t be afraid of offering criticism to your employees. However, there are productive and unproductive ways to provide feedback. If you need to provide new direction to an employee, be sure to also share what they are doing well at work.
If criticism is offered in a harsh or judgmental way, you may find yourself dealing with work-related conflict more than you’d like. Maintain open communication and kindness, and your employees will feel more apt to speak up with their ideas.
4. Break Old Habits With New Ideas
If you keep hitting dead ends at work, take a look at the last time you tried a new problem-solving approach. For the creative juices to flow at your office, try fun new activities like getting involved in the community, or:
- Team building exercises
- Guest speakers
- Game days
By breaking up your regular routine, employees and leaders alike will gain new perspectives. Sometimes all it takes for an employee to have an excellent idea is to remove the roadblock temporarily.
5. Encourage Team-Building for All Employees
At many companies, employees can naturally form groups and even cliques based on their roles. When this happens, communication halts, and employees in other departments rarely collaborate. Keep separation to a minimum by hosting frequent team-building exercises. These fun activities allow workers in all departments to intermingle and get to know each other.
Another way to encourage employees to get to know each other is by organizing employees together by project instead of department. This strategy will give them the space to speak up and share their thoughts in a team-based setting. Intermingling departments allows you to create an environment where employees can have open communication and shared goals.
Watch Your Company Excel When Honesty Is Prioritized
In adverse work environments, employees rarely feel empowered to speak up and share honest thoughts and ideas. Many times, these employees just don’t feel comfortable being ‘themselves in a hostile environment. However, when you prioritize creating a safe and authentic workplace environment, workers will feel more confident about being honest. Honesty in the workplace will help increase productivity and offer benefits like integrity, career growth, respect, and problem-solving. When everyone can contribute to your workspace, you will see it excel.