SHARING INFORMATION OR LETTING EMPLOYEES GUESS
June 2018 – Brandmap:
One of the issues that we frequently encounter lately is the problems of sharing information across the companies. It can reach to such extreme levels that the employees find out critical news about the company not from the company authorities but from an article on the newspaper. I would like to give some examples about this issue of insufficient exchange of information that I heard from employees during my interviews. They are not notified about the assignments and promotions; promotions are handled under the table. No one is informed about the changes in the organizational structure or the company’s relocation plans. The employees don’t know how much bonus they will get and when or whether they will get it at all, they receive no notification regarding raises until the next pay day at the bank.
I am not even mentioning the requirement to share the company goals and strategies regularly with the employees. Unfortunately, many companies even fail to share those goals today. The vision and the strategies are not shared with the low level, and no harmony is sought in the performed tasks/projects. The meetings of top management are like a closed book. Even though they take decisions that will change the current workflow of the employees, they are expected to go on only with an explanation like “just do as we have decided from now on”. The employees would like to know the purposes and motives behind this change.
So, what happens when information is not managed correctly by the company? The gossip line opens. And then, everyone comprehend/interpret the news as they like. At the end of the day, the misinformation that spread around becomes the agenda of the employees. Things get worse. The employees stop trusting the company, start seeing themselves invaluable and this may even lead to resignation.
Sometimes, the companies may hesitate making announcements regarding the decisions that may significantly impact their employees. Especially, when something is not certain, it is generally not possible to share the information. For instance, let’s say the company is going to move, but where it will move is not set yet, even the timing is unknown. In this example, not avoiding communication but instead explaining the current uncertainty with its reasons would prevent a possible damage in the trust of employees to the company. Trust is the essential element of commitment. So, if you want to ensure employee commitment, you should adopt an open and transparent communication style towards them. Some points may not be certain, but sincere answers about even the uncertain is critical in maintaining the corporate prestige in the eyes of the employees.
Let’s now talk about a situation different than the one above. Sometimes, the top management expect the employees to be informed after the decisions are taken, but the mid-level managers that will ensure this information flow fall short. When it is unclear which information will be disclosed, to what extent it will be disclosed, down to which level it will be shared, once again the company fails in being transparent. So, it is required to know the competencies of the managers that will ensure the downward flow of information when required. The simple acts of reviewing the decisions taken after the meeting and determining the employees that these decisions will be shared to will ensure all managers to share the messages in the same degree and in line with each other. Whereas, in some cases, leave aside the employees, even the managers are unaware of the top management decisions. Their opinions are not asked in subjects that directly concern their team, the decisions are not notified to them and they are expected to argue for the decision that they don’t even believe in. When things are like this, the managers turn into operators. On the other hand, I don’t think any company is rich enough to use its managers as operators.
Lately, we have been talking a lot about employee expectations. Corporate career opportunities, recognition expectations, training and development opportunities are among the mostly expressed ones. However, before starting to discuss them, some fundamental issues which are not very easy to grasp should be addressed. Before handling those issues, it would not make a difference even if you bring the best systems of the world. We are all human, we want to trust each other and we expect others to trust us. For employees to have full trust in their companies depends on the company to be open and transparent with them. If the relationship between the employee and the organization is based on transparency, openness and trust, they carry out their business with joint wisdom. And only in such an environment, it would be possible to talk about the peace of mind, engagement and the motivation of employees. Given that all information is open and easy-to-access in today’s words, we should not doubt that these concepts will continue to gain importance in the next-generation business life and we should take action with this in mind.