The business coach with Laura Murphy: They won’t be honest

Question: “We work in a high pressured environment and encourage honesty in feedback to nip issues in the bud yet the staff keep leaving. What’s going wrong?” Simon

Answer: “There are industries known for a high churn rate but yours isn’t one of them. You should consider three things: recruitment, your appraisal system, and the workplace environment.

Are you recruiting people with not only the right skills but also the right temperament? Reconsider how you source and shortlist applicants and the questions you ask at interview.

Ensure you have a comprehensive induction programme which sets the scene for the honesty you seek.

Your appraisal system checks well against ACAS guidelines. There’s the practical stuff about preparation and setting aside time, ensuring that the individual who’s running the appraisal has the ability to do it effectively.

Just as important though are the hidden messages of your organisation.

It’s no good encouraging honesty when the environment throughout the working week precludes it.

People need to know and trust that if they say anything in one context a) it won’t be held against them in another and b) something will change. That issues will be identified and resolved before they even get to the appraisal.

So carefully assess workload balance, interactions between staff, management styles, culture. What are the barriers preventing honesty?

If you can’t observe this dispassionately then get someone in who can.

There may be one fundamental thing causing the high turn-over. More likely it’s considerably more complex than that, so spend time identifying the factors and then do something about them.”

Laura is an organisation development specialist and executive coach with mtc2 ltd and was Highly Commended in the Eastbourne Business Awards Business Person of the Year. To solve your problem email laura@mtc2.co.uk Tweet @WayfinderWoman Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.