Leaders of companies are hesitant to share the ugly truth about failures or successes for various reasons. There are doubts often muttered about being transparent to the team about our company goals, how far we have achieved them, and what we could have done better. Some being said are ‘we don’t want to get their hope up, ‘we don’t want to be seen as stupid in our strategies and others’ worries.

Being an employee, I want to learn the ugly truth early. As an HR business partner, I would like to share our strategies with the team for no reason other than the team sharing the same goals and spirit. I want to let them know experimentation is welcomed and those new ideas are cheered on. I want to show the company culture that is innovative and very open to trial and error.

There are various ways of communicating your vision or goals. The first would be Communication channels. HR and Senior Leaders can choose multiple channels to ensure the message reaches the audience. It comes easily with emails, memos, notice boards announcements, Group messages, and texts. Or you could be more creative, where HR plays a very important role in understanding how employees effectively ‘listen.’ There are various ways, and we will only find the effective ones once we explore everything and find the ones that suit us the most. For example, our young generation rarely reads our notice board and stays connected through messages such as Line, Whatsapp or Telegram. Some people love interacting through our social media channels; they like our internal posts, comment on our feeds or reels, and sign up for our programs through this platform. Some still prefer direct communication, such as townhall and department meetings. When we said we wanted honest feedback, did we open enough channels for the team to share?

The second most important one would be follow-ups. One very important question to every HR Leader is, did we truly listen like we promised to? A couple of months ago, we created a survey on our medical providers for the team. These nine people disagreed on continuing the benefits. We met each of them and answered their questions. 5 of them changed their feedback. But all of them appreciated that we arranged the discussion to listen to their feedback. With 99% of colleagues agreeing on the survey, Management could have moved on. But we did not—every voice matters. We treat every employee as important. Yes, that 1% matters. We are building the company culture that when employees provide feedback, we truly listen.

“Healthy communication will craft the company culture. Every employee will share the same set of goals and understanding about how they communicate with each other.”

When their suggestions are not something that we could ever do, we are totally open about it. So they will not be getting hopes up. But if we can do it, we are also honest about the timeline to do that. Meeting minutes are actioned with a deadline for follow-ups. Follow-up discussions are shared with real progress. Disappointments are not usually coming from rejection with valid reasons. People are disappointed when the issue dragged without certainty or when the company is not being transparent and gives the employees vague answers. We know lines like ‘We are looking into this and ‘we will get back to you shortly so often lead to disappointment. Instead, be honest, ‘we are not able to do it this year, but we have planned for this starting 1st January next year, or something similar.

Quality vs. quantity. Surely we need to try all different communication channels, and analyzing the effectiveness of the channel is also very important. We do not want to post messages to a number of groups or channels only to find the intended recipients are missing the information. Go back to our channels, review them, and they are still up to what we need. Are the employees still using the channel? Is direct communication better than online platforms? Not only to see if it is efficient but are they effective. Do not be afraid and stopping certain channels if they are not effective.

Healthy communication will craft the company culture. Every employee will share the same set of goals and understanding about how they communicate with each other. Great communication will solve quite many gaps and challenges. It will create an environment where people are transparent with each other. The trust of the team is high, and the company can focus on operating with excellence and growing the people. People are telling stories of how easy and natural communication is at work. Employees are eager to share ideas. They are productive, and they would grow with the company. The first and the latter would be reasons people stay in the company.