Clear communication within organisations is tough to get right, but without it measuring the impact on reporting is even tougher. Some senior leaders may not believe they have a problem within their organisation, citing a lack of reports. But if they don’t have other reporting routes beyond asking them to bring issues to the attention of line managers and HR and don’t talk more about them, plus don’t understand the reasons why people don’t want to make named reports, how do they truly know there are no issues?
This blog post will help you understand the importance of clear communication across businesses and how having that can help increase reports, in turn helping to improve workplace culture.
The importance of clear communication
There are plenty of statistics out there to show that many employees believe there is a lack of clear communication in their workplaces and that a lot of them feel this could be much better. At Culture Shift this is something we too are also trying to improve. According to a study by McKinsey, improved internal communication can increase organisational productivity by as much as 25%.
And when research by The Workforce Institute shows that 60% of workers feel their voice has been ignored in some way by their manager or employer, organisations also need to make sure they are actively listening to what their employees are saying, wanting and experiencing, and taking them on board to improve things.
It is understandable that implementing clear and effective communication tools and methods across larger companies can be even more of a challenge, but it is not impossible. Some examples of organisations that have succeeded in doing so, can be found here and here.
The impact clear communication has on reporting
However you are communicating, many of our partners have found:
- People are visiting their reporting page, showing they know where to find it
- There is an increase in reports coming through – this does not necessarily mean more incidents are happening but that more people are confident speaking up
- Over time some have more named than anonymous reports
- Some people later add their names to anonymous reports
- They receive positive feedback from users on the service and support they provide
- They feel more confident to effectively respond to reports over time
- They have a far better idea of what is going on in their organisation or institution and their culture than they ever did before
A study by CIPD found that nearly a quarter (24%) of employees think challenging issues like bullying and harassment are swept under the carpet in their organisation and our research says 36% of people do not trust their employer because of the handling of a previous incident. By doing something to the best of your ability about reports you get, can really help turn those figures around.
If you’re an educational institution, you can find out more about how one of our partners, the University of York, uses our system effectively here. Keep reading to see what our corporate partners are doing…
3 tips on improving clear communication and its impact on reporting
1. Ensure policies are easy to find and access
According to research by GuideSpark, up to 43% of employees avoid reading their employers’ policies and another study found that 60% don’t read their employee handbooks. It’s relatable – they can be long, confusing and are not fun. But in not doing so, employees who are accused of bullying, discriminating against or harassing others or doing something else may say they did not realise what they did was against policies.
Maybe you should consider asking all employees to complete regular checklists after reading each section of your handbook and all policies and signing them? This makes sure they know they are liable should they be in breach of a policy. It is also down to leaders to remind employees of where they can find the policies, doing so as often as possible. You can simplify or shorten the text, or make them visual or interactive, such as by using illustrations or creating videos.
2. Remind employees of the reporting routes available
Do you have any of the following reporting routes?
- Line managers or HR
- FTSU Guardians or other nominated people
- Independent or third-party hotlines
- Regular employee surveys
- A whistleblowing procedure
- Or an anonymous reporting platform such as Culture Shift’s?
Whatever you have, constant signposting to them is essential if you truly want to better understand what is happening in your organisation and make the investment worth it.
3. Close the feedback loop
One thing our partners make sure they do is follow up reports made when possible and do their best to resolve issues they come across. A reason many people don’t make disclosures is because they don’t believe anything will be done. The University of Warwick endeavours to build staff and students’ trust in Report + Support which encourages more to report and as we said, can sometimes result in named reports over anonymous ones. For example, in 2021-2022 73% of reports they received were named, compared to 63% the year before, already a high number.
How our partners communicate our reporting tool clearly
Below is an example of how just one of our nearly 100 partners strive to make everyone in their organisation aware of our reporting system through clear communication.
Investment company Praetura, with around 150 employees, have been using Report + Support since December 2021. Through regular and varied means of communication they signpost to the system to ensure everyone knows where to access it and what it’s for. Examples include:
- In emails
- In newsletters
- On awareness dates
- Through internal messaging system
- During the hiring process
- In inductions and onboarding
- In policies
- During team training sessions
Other ways of communicating Report + Support clearly
More examples of how you can make Report + Support more visible that many of our partners from different sectors – including EY, Macfarlanes law firm and the Irish Theatre Institute – do include:
- Put up adverts and posters on notice boards, in toilets and on lockers
- Use QR codes
- Distribute leaflets
- Have it available or advertised on the intranet or company app
- Insert it into email footers
- Use social media
- Embed them into awareness campaigns, which we can help provide
For current partners wanting support with improving communication of Report + Support and ways of responding to reports, do not hesitate to contact your Relationship Manager. For enquiries about what we offer, contact us here and a member of our dedicated Sales team will be happy to chat.