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Does your organization openly share challenges?

September 29, 2017

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

I read an interesting statistic the other day – only 15% of employees believe that their organization always shares the challenges they are facing, and 21% say their organizations never share this information.  I fail to see the benefit of not sharing an organization’s challenges with staff.

Over 20 years ago, I worked for a leadership team that failed to share this type of information.  I’ll never forget it because there was one particular year that I thought we were knocking it out of the park only to find out that we actually lost money.  What a disappointment.  My strategic approach could have been realigned had I known there were issues or I could have provided ideas to resolve the shortage.  That’s why when I took over managing the organization, I made an effort to show my team that I trust them, and they can trust me. I’m always very open with any challenges the organization is facing.  This allows us to put a team effort behind everything we do.  Maybe one of my colleagues has a great idea for a solution to a particular challenge.  If I didn’t share the fact that there was a challenge, he’d never know to even provide any input.  It reminds me of the old adage – it takes a village.

I think often times leaders are afraid to share any challenges with employees for fear of scaring them.  But based on the input I’ve received from ASE employees, they appreciate knowing that I’m always honest with them.  It makes them feel more engaged and appreciated to know what is going on.  Trust is important in any relationship, including an employment relationship.  In general, most employees would prefer the truth over any sugar coating.  And in reality, it’s typically pretty obvious when there is something going on, so trying to hide it only makes the organization look worse.  

A Leadership IQ research study, “The Risks of Ignoring Employee Feedback”, revealed that 63% of employees who think their organization always openly shares their challenges will strongly recommend it as a great organization to work for.   On the contrary, only 6% of employees who think the organization never shares its challenges would strongly recommend it as a great place to work.  So employees who feel they can trust their organization are ten times more likely to recommend it as a great employer – which according to McLean and Company is the number one indicator of the employee experience.

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