Listening While Respecting Privacy
Tuesday, January 3rd 2023
The fact is that you cannot improve the workplace experience without a clear understanding of your employees. The days where managers could walk the floor and get a feeling of what is going on are gone. Employees are spread out between headquarter offices, regional offices, and home offices around the world. In person has been replaced with video meetings, conference calls and text messages. Getting feedback from employees is vital and the good news is that we have great new technology solutions to help us out.
If our intentions are to build a better workplace, then what’s the problem with using technology to better understand employees? Employees' concerns generally fall into 4 major categories:
Am I being spied on?
Why are they collecting this information?
Will I be punished for my opinions?
Will anything actually change?
Here are four best practices for using technology to understand employees while respecting privacy and maintaining a healthy employee relationship.
- Goals: Decide what data you are looking for, why you need it and whether there is a clear business need for gathering the information. Only do what you need to do, not what you can do. Employees will respect the process if they can see a reasonable business purpose.
- Transparency: Write a clear policy explaining to employees what you are doing and most importantly how they can find out more information. Very often just knowing there is a place to go for more information is all someone needs to feel at ease.
- Anonymity: It is more valuable to have individual feedback presented in demographic, regional or functional groupings instead of as individual responses. Ensure employees know this so they understand they are not being singled out.
- Action: Sharing results and letting employees know that you are addressing specific issues goes a long way toward developing the trust that is required for a healthy workplace. Seeing progress helps everyone buy into the process.