Why transparency and honesty are so important in employee engagement

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four businessman and text box above their head.

“One in five managers admits passing off employee’s good ideas as their own – and workers cannot even rely on camaraderie among their colleagues.”

This is the way Gabriella Swelling’s article on the paper edition of The Times starts, based on a poll of 1000 managers and staff, commissioned by Andy Harrington, a public speaking expert. Taking this information into consideration, it is not entirely shocking that a lot of companies are seriously lacking in the employee engagement department.

However, this poll also turned up a few more interesting results that are not entirely grim: 74% of British workers are ready to “go above and beyond to keep their jobs”, contrasting with only 9% who only do the bare minimum, possibly due to lack of engagement or praise.

It would appear that lack of transparency (and one would also venture, honesty), can be a huge obstacle to innovation in organisations. It’s not at all surprising that people will be reluctant to share their input, only to make other people shine and not get any recognition from it – I believe we’ve all seen this happen or at least heard some stories in our professional lives.

With Tesco announcing losses on the order of £6.4 billion due to a perceived lack of innovation, it makes you wonder how much better organisations would be doing if they took their employees input seriously and put them in the front line of their innovation efforts.

For that to happen, organisations have to take the removal of obstacles very seriously. This means providing not only a forum for ideas to be shared, but also make sure that employees feel safe and confident in it. Make the whole process transparent, so that Joe on the shop floor gets the recognition he deserves for his idea. Create rewards, so that Jane in the Finance Department can take home that voucher for that brilliant money saving idea.

There is a lot more to be gained than to be lost, by being transparent, i.e. some game changing ideas and your employee’s loyalty.

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