People don’t always “speak up” when they see a problem at work.
And the results can be disastrous. The best case scenario is that unaddressed problems only end up costing time and productivity.
Other far-too-common results include accidents and injuries, failure to address unethical behaviors, and public scandals.
Employee silence can also reduce innovation and damage morale, job engagement, and satisfaction.
What motivates employees to remain silent?
Keep reading for useful insights from a recent series of studies tracking the nature of actual employee silence incidents.
When employees didn’t speak up
These are the issues that employees most report remaining silent about:
|Experienced unfair treatment||21%|
|Someone else behaving unethically||18%|
|Concerns about a co-worker’s competence or performance||17%|
|Operational process concern and/or idea for improvement||13%|
|Disagreement or concerns with company policies or decisions||6%|
|Personal performance issue||6%|
|Concerns about supervisor or management competence||6%|
|Someone else being treated unfairly||4%|
|Personal career issue or concern||2%|
Who employees don’t tell
These are the relevant people that employees most often didn’t tell about an important issue:
|Other team members||3%|
6 reasons employees don’t “speak up”
These are the types of reason employees choose to remain silent.
Example: To get even with another person.
Example: To avoid hurting someone’s feelings.
Example: Due to fear of retaliation.
Example: Did not feel confident enough to speak up.
Example: Did not believe concerns would be addressed anyway.
Example: Did not care what happened.
Research has found these 6 distinct types of motivation for silence in the workplace.
It is an important and complex set of issues, but unfortunately one that is unlikely to have any easy answers.
Identifying these motives could be an important first step.