Opening the lines of communication


Fostering a ‘to you’ vs. ‘about you’ workplace culture

Picture this: You’re a hotel leader, and you’ve just woken up to enjoy your morning routine. Yawn, stretch, workout, breakfast, meditation. You’re ready to jump into the day with energy and excitement. That is, until you receive the following notification from Glassdoor:

Company: Your hotel name here
Pros: Discount hotel rooms, discount flights, discount tickets to entertainment
Cons: Management
Advice to Management: Do better

Your energy suddenly shifts from enthusiasm to exhaustion. What are you supposed to do with this review? It provides you with zero insights into what specifically has upset this employee. What department do they work in? Operations? Finance? Marketing? How can you “do better” if you don’t know what and where “you” are going wrong?

In 2021, Glassdoor reported receiving “nearly 50 million reviews and insights for more than 1 million companies.” Employees are allowed to write one review, per person, per year. When you search for ways to address negative reviews, you’re provided the following options:

  1. Ignore
  2. Respond
  3. Flag

What if you created a fourth option? One that can shift the energy of your entire hotel. With that in mind, here are five steps to develop a workplace environment where people talk “to you” instead of “about you.”

Thank your employees for their feedback and acknowledge the variety of platforms employees have to provide recommendations (internally and externally). Be authentic and commit to not only soliciting feedback but addressing individual concerns. Highlight recent comments you’ve received on the various platforms to show you’re monitoring remarks and taking suggestions seriously to improving the energy of your organization.

Ask how you can improve? Spotlight posts such as the one above and ask for more insights. Encourage all leaders within the organization to facilitate open and authentic conversations with their teams to learn how management can be more effective. Partner with your human resources (HR) business partners for this exercise so you have diverse perspectives listening to the wants and needs of your organization. Host lunch-and-learn meetings, all-hands meetings, teambuilding outings, etc. – all focusing on asking and listening.

Insights in hand, create action plans in partnership with your employees to ensure you build sustainable motivational workplace practices directly addressing their concerns. When you empower your employees with tools and support to create solutions, you enhance their energy and engagement with your organization. They take ownership of the company’s vision, mission, and values, and they take pride in the work they provide and responsibility for continuous improvement.

Constantly provide updates on how your organization is addressing feedback. Broadcast comments, action plans, and progress. Create dashboards, leaderboards, and share updates consistently on communication platforms internally and externally. By openly communicating your progress, employees and external candidates will see how you’re committed to continuously improving and evolving. Additionally, offer courageous conversation training to enhance real time feedback. Fierce conversations take practice! Ensure your managers are tooled up to model instant feedback and crucial conversations with their teams, so their employees can start practicing in real-time too.

Add a feedback survey to every candidate and employee touchpoint from application throughout employment. What does this look like? After a candidate applies, they should get a quick survey to see how their experience was with their application. After each interview, they should receive a survey asking what could be improved and what went well. Continue this level of solicitation throughout the onboarding and employment process. This could be as quick as a happy-or-not button, with the opportunity to provide comments on one’s selection if desired.

Follow these five steps to create an energized and sustainable motivational workplace culture. In creating a psychologically safe environment welcoming of comments, critiques, and criticism, you empower your employees to take ownership of their feedback and speak to you versus against you.

rebecca ahmed

Rebecca Ahmed is an award-winning speaker, business consultant, and an Energy Leadership Index™ Master Practitioner, which is an exclusive training in personal energy and how we can experience, express, and expand it in ourselves and others. Her deep real-world expertise derives from a decade plus spent as a people services leader at some of the largest casino and resort chains worldwide, including Wynn & Encore Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and Caesars Entertainment. Rebecca is the chief energy officer and founder of Energetic Impact.



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