Why not speaking up is damaging business

Why not speaking up is damaging business

Recent scandals in the news has damaged businesses like Volkswagen, Arcadia Group, Patisserie Valerie and Carillion, which have been caused by people not speaking out.  The current #METOO movement is changing peoples attitudes to speaking out, however a culture of silence still prevails.

  • Based on new research that reveals the scale of the problem
    • 1 in 4 junior employees think they would be punished if they spoke up about a problem at work
    • 8% of employees are keeping quiet about something they know will harm the company
    • only half of those with an idea they think would benefit the business felt able to share it
  • Changes to the law – the government has announced plans to ban the use of non-disclosure agreements to prevent employees reporting abuse
  • Expert authors – Megan Reitz is Professor of Leadership at Ashridge Hult Business School. She is on the Thinkers50 radar of global business thinkers and is ranked in HR Magazine’s Most Influential Thinker listing. John Higgins is Research Director at The Right Conversation and has worked with Business Schools around the world.

The VW emissions scandal, financial misreporting in Japan, sexual misconduct in Hollywood, slavery in global supply chains, doping in sport – each of these scandals was enabled in part by corporate cultures of silence and complicity.

Published by Pearson, a new book ‘Speak Up – say what needs to be said and hear what needs to be heard’ examines the business imperatives for breaking down silence. Professor Megan Reitz and John Higgins argue that only by creating workplaces where openness and transparency are valued, and where individuals can openly share their ideas and concerns, can businesses hope to avoid scandal in the future and benefit fully from innovative ideas.

Drawing on research involving more than four thousand employees at every level of business Speak Up explores the reasons why many of us choose to stay silent about even the most harmless of things. We lack confidence, are fearful and over-estimate and catastrophise the risks of speaking up.

People are poor at listening too – many of us have a blind spot in relation to our own approachability and ability to hear what’s really being said. We subconsciously apply labels to people which mean we discount or undervalue what they say to us. If we think people are young, inexperienced, long in the tooth or new to the company its highly likely we will discount their views. Worryingly, we do it without even realising

Speak Up: Say what needs to be said and hear what needs to be heard is out 18 July 2019.