Be Honest: Do You Have An Honest Culture?

Honesty: The Secret to Success and A Brandful Workforce

The success of an organization is closely related to an honest company culture. A 2010 Corporate Executive Board study found that companies encouraging open and honest feedback among its employees experienced superior shareholder returns over a ten year period, outperforming others by 270 percent. In the study, from 1998–2008, companies with honest feedback among their staff. Impressive numbers, but do they hold up?

To find out, Fierce, Inc., a leadership consulting firm, conducted its own research. The firm surveyed over 1,400 executives and employees, finding that the vast majority–99 percent–preferred a workplace where staff members were able to discuss issues truthfully.

Honesty may make a company a “happier” place to work, but the Fierce survey uncovered an even more important finding–70 percent of respondents believed that a lack of candor impacted their organization’s ability to perform at its best. There were various reasons for this belief, among them the argument that small problems could be identified early on, arming managers with the information needed to make decisions.

But, unfortunately, a culture of open and honest feedback doesn’t occur organically. In a recent article Halley Bock, the CEO and President of Fierce, provided four key tactics to improve your company’s communication and encourage open and honest feedback.

  1. Be Current and Brief. Resolve problems faster by addressing issues as soon as they arise.

  2. Don’t Sugarcoat the Issue. Don’t cushion confrontational situations with compliments or small talk, tell colleagues or employees what’s at stake and review the steps required to address the issue together.

  3. Keep Positives and Negatives Separate. Focus only on the positive or negative when it is warranted and don’t muddle the issues in a “compliment sandwich.”

  4. Use a Social Networking Approach. Enjoy higher employee morale, improved productivity, better retention and increased bottom-line success through candid dialogues between managers, employees and coworkers.

These tips might not be easy to implement, but they’re well worth it. In the end, nurturing a workplace culture of honesty and open communication will not only increase the level of happiness your employees experience in the workplace–it may also increase the value of your brand and your revenue. And what business wouldn’t want that?

This guest post was contributed by Erin Osterhaus of Software Advice, a firm that offers advice to HR professionals as they research new HRIS purchases, and provides reviews and buyers guides of HR software. Erin is the Managing Editor of The New Talent Times, a Software Advice blog offering tips on talent management and leadership skills to those in the HR space. To read Halley Bock’s original article, click here.

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