How Honest Should You Be with Your Employees?

Honesty and integrity are critical components of almost any business endeavor. From engaging in dealings with your clients, customers or suppliers to creating transparency with your employees, honesty must be a key tenet of the values by which any company operates.

The question is, however, whether there can be such a thing as too much honesty?

While honesty should always be paired with tact, the truth is most businesses can survive most hardships if they are honest. Here are some guidelines on embracing honesty in business and knowing where to draw the line.

Honest Briefings Benefit by Creating Consistency and Trust

Honesty helps achieve consistency that will not be influenced by external factors, no matter the circumstances. And while change is inevitable for every business, you can avoid the mistakes of dealing with changes and work things out with a consistent approach.

Whether you are planning to update your workflow, or your business has hit a rough patch, your employees should know about it. By keeping them in the loop, you will earn their trust.

Talk to your employees about the current state of affairs and plans for the future. While they don’t need to know the details, focus on what matters most to them – how will this impact their daily tasks, performance and earnings?

By honestly talking about current challenges you face, you will get them on board with the changes you plan to make. While some might resist change, talking things through will help them realize it’s going to bring remarkable benefits to everyone in the long run.

Brief your employees on the newest developments and achievements too, so that they know their role in the bigger picture. By sharing such information with them, you are also helping their performance: they will be more motivated if they know their hard work is a considerable contribution towards your company’s goals.

A Company Culture Built on Honesty and Respect will Help You Grow Your Business

Making honesty one of the core values of your company culture has a long-lasting positive effect on all your business relationships. By being honest and forthcoming with your employees, you are instilling these values on them too: they will be honest and forthright with your customers too.

While you are in the process of building your company culture, ensure that you are not enforcing false professionalism and valuing politeness above finding best solutions and practices. For example: if an idea is bad, an individual practicing false professionalism would never say so. With such actions, they are robbing the company of a healthy debate over a better solution that will help your business grow.

Eliminate Sugarcoating and Focus on a Candid, Running Dialogue between Everyone

Having frank conversations with your employees when they are not measuring up is difficult for everyone involved. However, they will appreciate it more than being blindsided one day by a completely unexpected termination. Being direct and honest and providing continuous feedback helps them correct their course and become better employees.

If there are ongoing issues with certain employees, you must take a hard stance and confront them about it.

For example, if you have an employee who is missing more often than is usual, be frank about it:

  • Say how many times they have been missing.
  • Explain how much more that is when compared to your business policy.
  • Explain the stakes: are there any repercussions they will face if this continues, like lower salary or even letting them go.
  • Inquire about personal or medical issues that might be causing that and explain that you wish to find a solution that will best work for everyone.

One very common trap that everyone falls into lately is trying too hard to be politically correct – tip toeing around certain issues in order to avoid offending employees has very negative effects on internal communications. Ensure that everyone is on the same page on how to communicate within your company. Promote clear, candid communications between everyone in your company: employees, managers and bosses. All your employees should know they can voice their concerns and ideas freely, and feel at ease when talking to each other instead of being anxious when addressing their colleagues, managers, or you, their boss.

If honesty were easy everyone would practice it. Honesty, forthrightness and integrity are all difficult to achieve or accomplish, but as is often the case, sometimes the most difficult things are the most important. Incorporating honesty into your business can sound tricky, but will make your employees happier, more productive and improve your business in the long run.

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