7 Ways to Encourage Honesty in Your Employees

7 Ways to Encourage Honesty in Your Employees

Group of employees together

Image by VectorMine from Shutterstock

Encouraging honesty in the workplace is the key to building a positive work environment. Yet, the “fake it till you make it” approach seems prevalent in many companies, especially now that remote work has become a new reality.

The Effects of Dishonesty in the Workplace

A work environment where honesty is not the best policy creates a culture of distrust, miscommunication, and disengagement. The results could be detrimental – covering mistakes with lies, avoiding responsibility, and acting in one’s self-interest. Well, you can see where I’m going here.

It won’t be a surprise that these types of behaviours would lead the entire company over the cliff and right into a toxic work environment. This is where employees are pitted against one another, and teamwork is undermined.

We’ve all heard of such companies, and some of us have been “lucky” enough to experience them ourselves.

In the end, a dishonest work environment damages employee morale, decreases productivity, and shakes the company culture quite considerably and often good employees leave. So, truth be told, that’s not the way to go.

Why Encouraging Honesty in Your Employees Is Important

Instead, companies should encourage honesty and integrity in the workplace. This is how they build a positive work environment and promote a culture of trust and accountability. Team members who feel comfortable, safe, and heard, lead a healthier professional lifestyle.

They are more likely to build trust, demonstrate ethical principles, and make sound decisions that align with the company’s core values. This results in better decision-making, increased employee engagement, and higher levels of attendance and productivity. Both the employees and the company end up benefiting. Sounds like a win-win.

That’s why it’s your role as a manager, team leader or an employer to build an environment where everyone feels accepted and can freely communicate.

7 Ways to Encourage Honesty in Your Employees

We know it can be hard to figure out where to start, especially if you are new to this role. Here are some tips to help you on your way to building an honest and engaged work environment.

1. Lead by Example

As an employee, would you be honest with a manager or employer that shows even a hint of dishonesty? The journey to encouraging honesty in your employees starts with YOU. The first step is setting the tone and modelling the behaviour you want to see from your team members.

Here are some examples of integrity and honesty:

  • Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes: By being transparent about your errors, you show employees that honesty is valued and everyone is equally responsible for their actions.
  • Hold yourself accountable: Being a good role model involves following through on your commitments. If you don’t, own up to it and take responsibility for the consequences, just like any other employee would do.
  • Provide honest feedback: Giving someone negative feedback is by far one of the hardest tasks. So, most of us tend to sugar-coat or avoid the conversation at all costs. Instead, be honest and show employees that feedback is a valuable tool for growth and improvement.

When their leadership values honesty, team members are more likely to follow suit and make ethical decisions in their work.

2. Build Trust

Building trust is a critical component of encouraging honesty in the workplace. Trust between employees creates a more positive environment, allowing them to be more comfortable sharing their thoughts, opinions, and concerns.

So, how can you encourage open and honest communication in the workplace?

To build trust, leaders need to be transparent, consistent, and reliable in their interactions with employees. Try to communicate honestly, even when the news is not good, such as losing an important client or possible cuts in salaries. Also, be consistent in keeping promises and following through on your commitments.

3. Communicate Your Company’s Values – And Stay True to Them

Your company’s core values should be at the heart of everything you do, and you need to make sure your employees understand what they are.

What does your company stand for? What makes it unique? What are the priorities? Answering these questions will help you communicate company values to your employees. You can even make it a part of the onboarding process for new hires.

But hear me out – this is one of those cases when communication is not enough. Writing down that “abuse is not tolerated” is just the first step. If employees violate the rule, you need to hold them accountable.

Communicating your company’s values clearly and providing examples will help build a culture of integrity within your organisation.

4. Foster Teamwork

The road to creating an honest environment goes through teamwork. When your team members feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, they’re more likely to act with integrity.

Encourage your employees to work together, support each other, and build a truly collaborative employee culture. It might seem unbelievable, but in today’s work environment, employees might go through years of working in the same company and never meet each other, or even speak to one another.

Fostering teamwork also reduces the fear of failure. If team members know that they are supported by their colleagues, they are more likely to take risks and be honest about their mistakes. This leads to more open and honest communication in the workplace.

5. Recognise Good Work and Celebrate Achievements

When it comes to appreciating your employees’ hard work, giving recognition and rewards is the way to go. It can be something as simple as a shout-out in a meeting or an Employee of the Month award. You can also get creative and send a big package for updating the home office – something all of us desperately need these days!

Here are some ideas, inspired by a few great leaders I know:

  • Bonuses, profit-sharing, or even stock options
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Employee of the Month awards, peer-to-peer recognition, or a wall of fame
  • Small gifts like movie tickets or gift cards

6. Provide Ethical Standards – And Follow Yourself

There is no honest work environment without high ethical standards. Make sure to provide training and resources on ethical principles and be available to answer any questions they may have.

Providing a clear framework for ethical decision-making will help your employees navigate difficult situations and make the right choices. You can also establish a code of ethics and values that all employees are expected to follow.

7. Embrace the Differences

Individuals who feel accepted are more likely to express themselves and share their opinions without fear of judgement or discrimination. This fosters a culture of honesty, where team members are free to speak up and bring unique insights and ideas to the table, ultimately leading to more creative and innovative solutions.

Amid the rise of AI and alarming workplace automation statistics, it’s crucial for companies to recruit and retain talent in the long run. With these strategies in place, you can create a workplace that encourages open and honest communication, ethical decision-making, and a strong commitment to moral standards.

Or in other words, create an environment where highly skilled individuals would thrive, grow with the business and take the company to the next level.

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Engage & Prosper is a UK-based, privately owned Employee Engagement Consultancy and Social Enterprise. We’re on a mission to help organisations develop a highly productive and fulfilling, collaborative workplace culture, with their people, through enhanced employee engagement strategies, fabulous and effective internal communications platforms and tailored reward and recognition programmes.

For more information on Engage & Prosper or to discover how we can help you achieve your organisational and people goals, please call +44 (0) 330 223 0464 or find out more at www.engageandprosper.com