How To Encourage Employees To Be Proactive About Workplace Grievances

Linda ReyesBlogging, Forbes Coaches Counsel

In order to keep your employees clipping along, you need to get to the root of their lack of engagement. According to a report by Gallup, 51% of employees are not engaged at work. So, how can you flip the switch for workers that have checked out?

Allowing your staff to openly communicate when they are unhappy or have a concern about a manager can go a long way in promoting workplace engagement. Your employees will feel like they are being empowered and have some control over their workplace situation. How you handle these grievances can also make the difference in whether your team is satisfied with their work environment, and it can make them more productive in the long run.

That’s why 13 members of Forbes Coaches Council share below some of the ways managers can encourage employees to be more vocal about grievances, concerns and ideas. Here’s what they had to say:

All images courtesy of Forbes Councils members.

1. Create A Culture Of Feedback

One of the most overlooked realities of “feedback” is that we need a ratio of three appreciations to every one “criticism” for relationships to thrive. Appreciation is feedback that builds strong relationships. Without this, everyone falls prey to a fear of retribution (what I say will be used against me) and a fear of futility (what I say won’t change anything). –Daphne Scott, DS Leadership Life

2. Take Action On Their Grievances

If and when employees do raise concerns, grievances, and/or ideas, make sure you are taking action on them. A very quick way to lose trust is to ask for feedback and do nothing about it. Even if there is a reason you cannot take action, make sure to communicate why that is not possible. If it is something you are hearing often and can do something about, take a steptoday to address your employees’ concerns. – Monica Thakrar, MTI

3. Make It Safe To Share

Employees tend to be less vocal about sharing ideas, grievances and concerns, especially when they perceive there will be negative repercussions. As a manager, if you are going to ask your employees to be vulnerable, then you must be willing to do the same. The way they see you interact with others (including your boss) is going to give them the litmus test they need to discern whether it is safe for them to share. – Susan Taylor, Generon International

4. Give Them Hope

I work with talented people who are unhappy at work and consider moving on to new, more satisfying positions. One reason is that the work is no longer challenging. The best people often want challenges, but managers can see them as being great right where they are. There needs to be hope that there is room for change and flexibility within their company and their role. Otherwise, top people will feel stagnant. – Jessica Sweet, Wishingwell Coaching

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5. Listen Closely And Follow Up

The best way to encourage employees to be more vocal about grievances and concerns is to first listen deeply, with ears of the heart, then follow up with appropriate action. If nothing can be done, the employee should be provided with a reason. Silence is a killer. The entire process should be transparent, open, and equally accessible to all, not just a select few. – Gaurav Bhalla, Knowledge Kinetics

6. Remind Them You Need To Improve, Too

Leaders are often unwilling to share their own need for development with their teams. After all, shouldn’t they be perfect if they’re in charge? The thing is, no one is perfect! Everyone needs to develop and improve, or risk stagnation. Your team will be willing to share their thoughts if you let them know you need their feedback to improve yourself, the department, and the organization. – Jessica Glazer, Center for Creative Leadership

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