Employee safety should be the number one concern for all organizations. Only after employee safety should be the safety of all company assets be a priority. If you are an employee that has been the victim of or knows about others that are the victim of, any situation that is a threat to safety you deserve to be heard.
In a world full of large corporations and remote employees, sometimes it can seem that your voice is lost in a sea of numbers. An organization full of multiple departments with a hierarchy full of names and faces you have never met can seem overwhelming when you have something you feel needs to be reported. Many times, you might not even know the name of the person that you are supposed to go to, the person that can put you and your job at risk, to report workplace issues. When you have to report anything from sexual harassment to abuse of power to discrimination, please do not forget that there are people that will listen to you and take you seriously. Frustratingly, it might take time to find them, but they are there.
Smaller companies face a different dilemma when it comes to reporting workplace issues. Rather than not knowing who to communicate to, you might know the person all too well. You might also know the person that you are making a claim against very well. This can cause internal conflict due to the deep loyalty that teams often feel towards one another. You know each other’s children, partners, life stories, and life goals. Thoughts like “Is the money that someone is skimming from an account worth the risk of them losing their job and medical insurance?” or “He’s a good guy and didn’t mean to offend me” can cause people to remain silent. A silent culture is a dangerous culture. No one’s behavior should make you feel less than or in danger. No organization should make you feel less than or that your safety is not its number one priority.
Happy and safe employees make for a successful organization. The safety and freedom to discuss concerns are critical for the health of all employees and company success. Culture change begins with you. The actions you take influence those around you and the overall organization. You create the culture - one that values safety or one that does not. Whether you are in leadership and need to convey to staff that reporting is encouraged, or whether you are a staff member who has something to report - we all have a role in creating safety in our work environments. Only through honest conversations and open reporting will we create work environments that foster productive and happy employees.
If you do not feel safe reporting to the channels inside of your company, remember that you can go to authorities to report criminal activities.