How to Create a Safe Environment in the Workplace to Discuss Problems

A safe workplace must include confidentiality.

A safe workplace must include confidentiality.

One of the primary goals of management is to create a safe and open workplace that allows employees to share problems and issues without retaliation. A safe work environment can help fight worker burnout and increase productivity. Managers have a direct responsibility to react to an employee’s complaint and to address any activity that can create an unsafe or hostile work environment. Some issues may include a negative workforce, personal problems or a lack of incentives.

Establish an open-door policy with all employees. Encourage them to come to you with any problems or issues they have with procedures or co-workers. Let them know that they can bring up issues without fear of being reprimanded or fired.

Address all concerns immediately. Show your employees they are valued by giving prompt attention to their problems, and always follow up to make sure the issue has been resolved. Failing to take action can pose a threat to other employees, reduce production and create an overall feeling of tension within the organization.

Learn to recognize trouble within your organization. Pay close attention to changes in attitudes. Address bullying behaviors, excessive swearing, harassment or any other actions that make employees uncomfortable.

Encourage a sense of community within the workplace. Schedule regular team meetings and ask for feedback and opinions from each person. Engage in conversation by asking questions on work topics including benefits, continuing education and company goals. Use this time to include each co-worker in the decision-making process. Ask for input on new procedures or training material, giving everyone a chance to be heard.

Recognize a job well done. When employees go beyond the call of duty, make sure they receive the recognition they deserve. If a worker stays late to finish a project or comes in on her day off to meet with a client, acknowledge her efforts with a company email or print the story in the company newsletter. You can also recognize her effort at the next team meeting.

Greet employees every time you see them. Even if you don’t remember their name, a friendly hello can often change someone’s mood. It also creates a positive and comfortable work environment.

Provide employees with some leeway concerning children’s activities at school or medical emergencies. Listen to your employees when they have personal issues, and help provide accommodations when unexpected events happen such as illness.

Establish strict rules against discrimination and racism. Let all employees know that the company has a strict policy against unfair treatment toward others.

 

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Melody Dawn has been writing business articles and blogs since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times," "Player's Press" and "USA Today." She is also skilled in writing product descriptions and marketing materials. Dawn holds a Master of Business from Brenau University.

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