5 Ways to Create a Safe Environment That Encourages Employees to Speak Up


Creating an environment that rewards open and honest communication is every leader’s dream. If your employees can speak freely, they’ll be more likely to offer candid and critical feedback about workplace practices, company policies, and individual behaviors.


Unfortunately, creating such an environment can be a major challenge, especially if your office already has several separate groups of tight-knit employees. That said, some thought, planning, and intention can go a long way. Here are five things that will help you cultivate a workplace where your employees can speak freely at all times.


  1. Model Good Communication


The easiest way to show your employees what kind of behavior you want to promote in the workplace is to use your own actions. If you promote open and transparent communication, your employees will be more likely to follow suit. If they feel able to ask any questions they want, troubleshooting problems will become much easier.


  1. Maintain Discipline


For many leaders, the hardest part of building trust in the workplace is disciplining those who violate it. This is a common occurrence in many offices, especially if the one getting disciplined is high up in the chain of command.


In situations like these, it’s important to remember that even a single unaddressed infraction can destroy your company’s reputation for inclusion and diversity. If you want to show you’re serious about creating a safe workplace environment, you must discipline the offender right away. This is the best way to repair the damage and prevent future transgressions.


  1. Stress The Importance of Teamwork


Competition in the workplace is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean your employees can’t have authentic relationships with one another. If you’re struggling to promote teamwork in the office, consider organizing teams by project rather than by department. This will give people who normally don’t interact much a good opportunity to work together.


  1. Make Amends Where Necessary


A good leader must show a desire to learn and a willingness to admit mistakes. This will put your employees’ minds at ease and open the door for honest communication at work. Of course, admitting mistakes should always be followed by action.


For instance, let’s say you decide to acknowledge that diversity hiring wasn’t always a priority for the company. In response, you could commit to placing job ads in areas where underrepresented applicants are likely to see them or identify more ways to make the workplace inclusive. Efforts like these are great for building trust and proving accountability.


  1. Reward Honesty


When people pursue the kind of communication you’re looking to promote, do your best to reward such behavior. Other than offering praise, you can recognize their efforts with more professional responsibility. Remember: if you consistently reward honest dialogue, other employees will get the message and start adopting the same approach.