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5 ways to create a positive speak-up culture at work

5 ways to create a positive speak-up culture at work

We’ve heard it a million times before – that positive culture plays an absolutely pivotal role in shaping the work environment, employee satisfaction and organisational success. But the reality is, creating a confident, progressive and inclusive culture can be challenging for human resource professionals.

They face the task of aligning diverse personalities, perspectives and values – while trying to build an environment that nurtures collaboration, respect and growth. Balancing the needs of each employee and the organisation at large requires a deep understanding of individual and collective aspirations.

But how do we reach that deep level of understanding? The answer lies in making a commitment to creating a positive speak-up culture.

What is speak-up culture? 
A healthy speak-up culture in the workplaces refers to an environment where employees feel comfortable and empowered to voice their opinions, concerns, ideas and feedback without fear of negative consequences. It encourages open and honest communications, builds trust and inspires collaborative and inclusive work.

Why is speak-up culture important? 
A positive speak-up culture encourages transparency, a diversity of ideas and thoughts, ethical behaviour and accountability within organisations. Ultimately, speak-up culture contributes to a healthy work environment and employee wellbeing – which is the key to a successful business.

What are the benefits of a strong speak-up culture? 
Speak-up culture brings with it a long list of incomparable benefits that contribute to a thriving organisation. It empowers employee voice, inspires innovation, enhances problem-solving and in the long-term attracts and retains top talent. 

  • Enriches collaboration: A great speak-up culture fosters open communication, leading to better teamwork and interaction among employees.

  • Enhances problem solving: Supporting employees to speak up assists in the identification and resolution of issues more effectively – leading to better problem-solving and decision-making processes. It can also facilitate the early detection of potential issues, allowing timely interventions.

  • Inspires innovation: A speak-up culture promotes the sharing of diverse perspectives, fresh ideas and feedback – creating a workplace that nurtures innovation and creativity.

  • Builds trust and loyalty: Employees feel more trusted, valued and engaged when they have the freedom to speak-up. This results in higher levels of commitment and loyalty.

  • Upholds accountability: When employees feel comfortable speaking up against wrongdoings and workplace related issues, it maintains a culture of ethical behaviour, accountability and honesty.

  • Improves retention and acquisition: A combination of all the above contributes to a healthy work environment where people feel their voices and input are valued – ultimately attracting and retaining top talent who seek empowering workplaces. 

How do you create a positive speak-up culture?

  1. Start really listening!

Creating a positive speak-up culture begins with active listening. Encourage managers and leaders to genuinely listen to their employees' thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Create opportunities for open dialogue, such as team meetings or one-on-one discussions, where employees can freely express themselves. By attentively listening, you validate employee perspectives and show that their input matters – building the foundations for a culture where everyone feels heard and valued.

  1. Provide a variety of employee voice tools

Equip employees with tools that facilitate their voices being heard. This could include pulse surveys, employee representation groups, virtual suggestion ‘boxes’, and internal messaging channels to encourage anonymous or open feedback submission. These tools provide a safe space for employees to share their ideas and suggestions. By giving them a platform to speak up, you empower employees to voice their feelings and actively participate in shaping the organisation's direction. 

  1. Be transparent about feedback 

Transparency is crucial to creating a strong speak-up culture. Share the feedback you’ve received from employees with appropriate teams and openly discuss the findings. This lets employees know that their voices are being heard and that their input is taken seriously. Transparently addressing concerns and providing updates builds trust and confidence. 

  1. Be proactive with insights  

Leaders should do everything with their power to encourage prompt action on feedback and ideas shared by employees. When employees see their input leading to tangible changes or improvements, it reinforces the value of speaking up. Ensure that feedback is acknowledged, and efforts are made to implement achievable ideas. Taking action demonstrates a commitment to creating a culture that embraces employee input and motivates employees to continue speaking up.

  1. Keep the conversation going! 

Building culture never ends; it requires continuous dialogue. Regularly engage in discussions, surveys, and/or town hall meetings to keep communication channels open. Invite employees to share their experiences, suggestions, or concerns on an ongoing basis. Actively follow up on previous discussions, providing updates and seeking further input. By keeping conversations alive, you reinforce the importance of ongoing communication and reinforce how important it is to speak-up.

How do you measure the impact of speak-up culture?
Employers can measure the impact of speak-up culture by adopting a data-led employee engagement platform – just like ours at Stribe!

At Stribe our engagement tools are science-backed and provide invaluable (and actionable) insights into the level of employee engagement and satisfaction within any organisation. Through pulse surveys, anonymous messaging channels, feedback tools and sentiment analysis – employers using our platform can gauge employees’ willingness to speak-up, their comfort level in expressing opinions, trust in leadership and more.

If you fancy a chat, we’d love to speak with you. Start a conversation with us today. 

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