ECI Best Practices Forum – Fall 2017 – Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of the 2017 Fall Best Practices Forum, put together by the ECI. The topic: Creating a speak-up/listen-up culture. Here are some of my meeting notes:

  • Science shows that “telling” is instinctual and “keeping quiet” is learned.
    • Babies as young as 14-months old can communicate to their parents when something is wrong (e.g. they will cry if an older sibling steals their cookie while mom is not watching to get her attention). But…
    • Kids as young as 4-years old have already learned that “no one likes a tattletale”. This is reinforced during school years, on TV, and in the workplace.
  • Thus, managers…
    • Should assume that employees want to report.
    • Should be educated on recognizing and responding to reports.
    • Should let reporters know that it was a good idea to come forward
  • Organizations should share how reporters make a difference and protect them
    • Reporters are 32% more likely to come forward if they know it will make a difference and 40% more likely if they know they will be protected
    • Reporters use a 2-step analysis
      • Are there potential repercussions for me personally? If yes, shut-up. If no…
      • What is the cost/benefit analysis? E.g.: Will anyone care? If no, shut-up.
    • Reporters want to know what will happen if they speak up. We need to demystify the process. KPMG has done that successfully with videos from their CECO demystifying intake, investigations, retaliation protection, etc.
      • KPMG videos explain, with statistics, why it is not as effective to report anonymously (harder to protect, to stay in touch, to investigate).
      • Reporters are less likely to trust senior leaders. The greater the power imbalance, the lower the trust. That’s why supervisors are key.
      • Reframe the conversation to describe reporters as loyal to the organization
    • Employees working in organizations with a helpline report more than others – but they barely use the helpline! There is a lot of speculations as to why that is.
    • Managers need to learn to listen.
      • On average, managers interrupt their subordinates within 17 seconds of the start of a conversation.
      • What makes it difficult to listen attentively is, in part, that the brain can process 1,000 words per minute while people speak an average of 150 words per minute. The extra brain power is spent on distracting thoughts.
      • Listening requires significant effort.
      • In brainstorming sessions, allow employees to “pass” and go back to them later.
    • Retaliation
      • Most retaliation is “social”.
      • 80% of retaliation happens within 3 weeks of a report.
      • When organizations take extra measures to protect the reporter of a significant allegation, it is perceived as retaliation by the reporter!
    • Quarterly performance meetings can be more effective than annual reviews because it is easier for employees to discuss issues that happened recently.
    • Miscellaneous quotes
      • “The best employees are the ones asking the best questions.”
      • “Some people believe they are doing the right thing because they are not asking the right question.”
      • “Managers focus on complexity, leaders focus on change.”
      • “Crises are situations that draw out heroic actions.”
      • “The CEO is the curator of culture.” – Microsoft CEO
      • “Think of trust as a credit score, with the lenders being your stakeholders.”
      • “Culture is the immune system of your organization.” – Huffington
    • Recommended books
      • Nudge
      • Riding the waves of culture

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