Never before has the need for open, transparent and authentic communication been thrust into the spotlight as it was during 2020. As the suddenness and scale of the pandemic caused disruption in workplaces, it was down to individual leaders and managers to address the increased human desire for guidance, support and reliable information that could help them make sense of what is happening.
This was no easy task, as leaders lacked a clear playbook on how to respond to such an upheaval in working culture, much less on how they could quickly connect with rattled employees and reassure them on their immediate and future concerns1. It was nevertheless a duty of crucial importance, as the organizations that enabled the most effective communication platforms were better able to alleviate concerns surrounding Fairness and Impartiality, which continue to be a key area of concern for Filipino workplaces in general.
While statements within the dimension of Fairness saw an uptick in scores in 2021, it remains the lowest scoring dimension, amongst both Philippines Best Workplaces™ and the Rest, indicating a clear need for improvement in this aspect for workplaces across the Philippines.
However, it isn’t all bad news, as statements such as ‘Managers avoid playing favorites’, ‘Promotions go to those who best deserve them’ and ‘People avoid politicking and backstabbing as a way to get things done’ saw increased scores between 5% and 9% in 2021.
This suggests that the heightened efforts of leaders to create clear and effective communication channels with employees working remotely have borne fruit. The creative use of technology to implement activities such as regular pulse surveys, virtual town halls, employee appreciation events worked well to compensate for the absence of physical interaction and provided employees with an effective platform to have their voices heard.
Synchrony undertook various mindful initiatives to enhance communication between employees and leaders, as well as between managers from different centres. Their Virtual Talakayan was a monthly platform for managers, leaders and HR to openly discuss updates, processes and practices, while their Front Line Manager (FLM) Series inspired managers from different hubs to share their best practices in handling employee concerns to provide learning opportunities for all. At the same, Synchrony implemented special one hour Roundtables with new hires andtenured employees to stay updated on their remote working situations and offer support.
It remains crucial that workplaces take a more proactive approach towards addressing any underlying issues pertaining to Impartiality in the future. In another study by Great Place to Work®, we found that that employees who experience unfairness at work are more likely to experience dips in productivity, as their energy becomes wastefully directed towards anger and resentment instead of being used to innovate and creatively engage with company goals and objectives2.
With continued uncertainties on what lies ahead, the anxieties that may be brought about by the possibility of going back to the office, the fear and disparity of views on Covid-19 vaccines and many other potential obstacles on the horizon, the need for regular and transparent two-way communication between management and employees has never been more crucial.
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