Are your employees FINE?

321390_368667676564088_208230156_nThe 2013 VA State SHRM Conference is over and boy, what an amazing conference it was!

I not only had the privilege of presenting The Gift of Feedback as a speaker at the conference, but I also had the opportunity to sit in some incredible sessions. The last day and a half of the conference had some very impactful keynotes and presentations. One particular keynote stood out for me.

So, the question is…are your employees FINE? Dr. Andre´Martin, Chief Learning Officer at MARS delivered a powerful keynote on Wednesday morning. He doesn’t walk past employees when they answer the question “How are you” with FINE. Dr. Martin feels that “FINE” is the answer of the actively disengaged employee. Boy, is he right!

I mean, think about it for a minute…FINE is the safe answer. It is the answer that will satisfy most managers and make them just go away. I’m sure you have answered the “how are you” question with “FINE”. Think about what you actually meant…I love Dr. Martin’s other, much more appropriate answers – I’m crappy, I’m pist.

Why don’t employees answer the question honestly? Why don’t they engage in the feedback process with their leadership team? Well, the answer is pretty simple, they are either terrified of talking about how they really feel – which would make me question the work environment and culture of the organization (that is a whole other blog), or they don’t think it’s their place to give feedback because they are old school thinkers. No. Not old. Old school thinkers.

While my focus on delivering The Gift of Feedback has primarily been on leadership, it is important to note that front line staff also struggle with giving feedback. Employees struggle to communicate with each other and with leadership. They don’t know how to tell a co-worker that something he/she did had an adverse impact on them. They don’t know how to give their manager feedback. Yes people, it is perfectly okay to give your manager feedback. I have done it at every organization I have worked in and because it was delivered using the feedback model, it has been very well received. I have never told a manager that he or she sucks. That certainly would not have been well received. It’s all in the delivery.

Take note my fellow HR professionals and members of the leadership ranks…you must ensure that your organization’s culture supports an environment of open, honest and direct feedback. I can teach anyone about the model. I can explain the importance of feedback and the positive impact it has on bottom line results. I cannot however guarantee that the process is going to work unless your organization’s culture supports this kind of communication. Contact us today to find out how Adelante HR Consulting can help you positively impact your organization’s culture and create a “feedback” friendly environment, because none of your employees should be just FINE.


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