Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

4 practical ways to increase transparency and employee engagement

engagementYour employees are eyeing advancement, but many of them still consider it an awkward conversation. To change this, human capital management professionals have to develop a culture of transparency and engagement. 

When people feel they are stuck in one place, without the ability to broach topics such as wage and promotion with management, they’re more likely to begin feeling dissatisfied. This can ultimately have a detrimental effect on employee retention, and even hiring. This isn’t simply an issue of workers needing to step up to the plate, though. Douglas Williamson, the CEO of the Beacon Group, told HR Reporter that management is “more discriminating” than it has ever been. This sort of distant approach creates an environment that discourages discussions about advancement. 

Instead, executives have to work to build a transparent culture. This will encourage engagement, and subsequently develop a collective comfort among staff with discussions about advancement. 

Keep up constant conversation
Managers should engage with their people consistently, and in a way that’s less lecture than leveling on an equal playing field. To do this use humor and ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation. The more you talk with staff the more they’ll feel comfortable approaching subjects such as advancement. While lighthearted talk will help with engagement, it is also important to include staff in conversations on strategy and operations. This will improve transparency and make your people feel important enough to touch on traditionally awkward topics like wage and promotion. 

Leaders would love some help
Similar to how people don’t always feel comfortable discussing certain topics, managers may also feel awkward about these subjects. For supervisors, training and development programs can improve communication skills and employee engagement abilities. Culture building is a trickle-down effort. Give leaders the tools they need to engage employees, and their people will find themselves in a comfortable and transparent environment.

Offer another outlet 
People can’t talk to their supervisors about everything, and that’s where another outlet can prove useful. I suggested an anonymous hotline to HR Reporter. Employees who don’t have a resource to turn to about issues such as wage and promotion are more likely to feel disengaged. An anonymous hotline will give them a channel through which they can vent comfortably. This will contribute to an open and transparent culture in the workplace. 

Practice an open-door policy
Transparency depends on access. When considering your workplace culture, it is important for managers to ask themselves, “is my door always open?” If so, you’re cultivating an environment that promotes transparency and employee engagement. If not, then you should start considering ways to prop that door open. Make sure employees think of you as a friend, who they can come to about anything – including wage and promotion issues. 

Make sure everyone knows your door is open, especially in a multi-generational workplace. Younger employees tend to be less comfortable discussing topics they perceive as awkward, such as salary and advancement. It is essential to find ways to relate to millennials, Generation X and baby boomers alike to ensure top-down transparency and engagement. 

Join us for one of our related conference sessions at INSIGHTS 2016 in Las Vegas (July 11-15)!

  • PD105 Driving Engagement Through Career Development
  • PD115 Engaging the Millennial Workforce

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