In order for a company to truly succeed over a long period of time, it is vital that employees feel safe, feel loved and valued, and that they have the means and communication channels with which to voice their opinions. Creating a comfortable workshop environment for your employees to provide feedback, to brainstorm ideas on new products and services, and to ensure internal processes are viable and effective, will help you to succeed as a company.
What happens though if your employees are too shy to take part? Is there anything you can do to help them overcome their fear and to enter work knowing that they have access to a safe space where they can honestly speak?
There is a good chance that if you have shy employees in a workshop setting, or a brainstorming session, who are unwilling to talk, it is because they have suffered embarrassment or hurt in the past. Now, this could have been at a previous company, or within your own, but it can be devastating to speak up and put forward an idea, only to see it shot down with little explanation, or worse, laughed out of the room.
This is were it is important to create a clear vision for how you want your management to operate. If you want to create a successful company where employees feel safe and valued, and where you have clear succession routes in place and high employee retention rates, this will filter down from management. Friendly management, with clear direction, honest communication channels, and constructive feedback, will be much more likely to succeed than an environment where the word of the manager is God, and employees are forced to have no feelings of their own, expected instead to follow direction explicitly without any free thought.
In particularly challenging groups, it might be good to start with a range of anonymous tips and suggestions from the group, that can be read back and fully dissected and discussed without any repercussions. This helps to create the beginning of an environment where every single person can put forward an idea and see that it is taken at face value and equal to every other idea. From here, you can slowly build trust and explore other ways of sharing information, both positive and negative.
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