Confidential Conversation – Turn Employee Feedback into Active Conversations
Open-ended survey comments often trigger more questions than answers. Some respondents couch their observations in evasive language for fear of retribution or raise issues that seemingly come out of left field. When chains of command (with direct reports of five staff or more) get their team results, responses may reveal a story that needs telling. Or deserve acknowledgment for an excellent idea. But how can you dig deeper or extend accolades when anonymity is the refrain used to get higher employee survey response rates and genuine candour? The answer lies in a confidential conversation.
“…whether a leader will be able to address employee concerns will depend on how candid workers feel they can be with that leader.” – 2018 SHRM Employee Engagement article
How to have a Confidential Conversation at Work
A powerful tool for leaders at all levels is something referred to as Confidential Conversations. An employee survey platform feature that provides the capability for managers to strike up an exchange with individual employees, transparently and sincerely—while preserving the employee’s confidentiality. It removes barriers for people afraid to speak up and instills a deeper sense of trust.
Let’s say, for instance, that a survey respondent has commented about feeling overwhelmed and unsupported. Why? Have expectations changed and if so, how? Is the work beyond their current skill set? Would training help? Do they have the right tools? What kind of changes might alleviate some of this stress and increase feelings of support? The respondent’s direct manager (or any leader or HR administrator with full reporting access) can identify themselves, thank the individual for bringing the matter to their attention, and ask these sorts of questions within the employee survey platform. Never is the respondent’s identity revealed unless they choose to do so themselves.
A Confidential Conversation is the kind of employee engagement technology that:
- Fosters better trust levels between employees and management
- Sends a message that employees are being heard loud and clear – no longer is it perceived that employee survey responses get lost in a black hole
- Underscores the value of feedback
- Reinforces and recognizes a culture of open communication
- Empowers employees to be frank
- Sparks meaningful, ongoing dialogue
- Offers leaders the clarity needed to improve the workplace environment under their management and control
- Lets leaders respond to small problems—and act—before they become big
- Conveys greater leadership transparency and accountability
- Demonstrates how the effort to respond to a survey is worthwhile
- Relies on a third-party vendor to prevent the identification of individual commenters
- Improves and brings clarity to qualitative feedback without the use of focus groups
- Boosts employee engagement
The idea is that leaders are able to understand where employees feel they are succeeding on the job as well as where they feel they need additional support.
The Confidential Conversations tool is a feature of the WorkTango Employee Engagement Survey platform. It’s a component of Active Listening that allows leaders to have some tough, honest conversations and demonstrates the conviction, accountability and effort they’re putting into change. For more information or to arrange a demonstration click here.
Check out our guides on workplace culture, employee engagement, and employee surveys. Learn about every aspect of a successful employee voice initiative!
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