Vulnerability. It’s easier said than done– especially in the workplace. Nonetheless, we believe employee vulnerability is worth encouraging in every organization and workplace culture. Here’s why vulnerability matters:
Vulnerability combats toxicity
Unfortunately, workplace toxicity is such a relevant topic today. Luckily, one way to combat toxicity is with vulnerability. When companies encourage vulnerability, employees feel empowered to share their feelings and concerns, which ultimately opens the door to address toxicity.
According to HRO Today, the top two reasons employees don’t report workplace misconduct is because they fear retaliation or negative reactions from coworkers. When vulnerability becomes a ‘norm’ in your culture, it eliminates this fear and allows employees to feel comfortable enough to report workplace misconduct– whether it’s speaking directly to HR or using an online reporting system.
Vulnerability prevents burnout
Anyone can have an overwhelming and stressful week at work. However, one week of stress can result in employee burnout if emotions aren’t easily shared. According to Forbes, 23% of employees feel burnt out. Burnouts lead to missed days at work, low motivation, and an inability to meet obligations. Employee burnout is such a pervasive issue, but vulnerability can help stop it in its tracks.
Instead of employees feeling the need to withhold their job-related concerns, a culture that embraces vulnerability gives employees the power to be honest– both with themselves and others. This form of vulnerability allows HR to address employees’ concerns and work with them through their struggles.
Vulnerability encourages honesty
A lot of people might think that part of being good at your job is knowing “everything” about your job. While having some expertise is great, it’s okay to explore the unknown and admit that you might not know everything. HRTech Analyst, Lance Haun, believes there’s a lot of power in being honest and saying “I don’t know.”
For instance, if you ask an employee to work on something they’re unfamiliar with, you should want that individual to be honest and say, “I don’t know it well, but I’m willing to learn.” Saying “I don’t know” is a form of vulnerability; no one likes to admit they’re wrong or that they don’t know everything (crazy, right?!). But, trust us, encouraging vulnerability will only better your workplace. When employees are honest, you can form stronger teams, create learning opportunities, and establish a collaborative and safe space.
Making Vulnerability Work
So, how do you establish vulnerability in your workplace? Start with your leadership and management. Be vulnerable. Employees will follow your lead, your vulnerability, and your honesty.
Then, when employees are vulnerable, be sure to not ignore their feelings. If an employee says they’re feeling burnt out, don’t question them. Instead, work with them to find a balance that works for you both.
Other ways you can encourage vulnerability in the workplace include:
- Providing a third-party reporting app
- Creating a culture of support
- Training leaders to be vulnerable
- Encouraging a self-care and work-life balance
FirstVoice is a reporting app that allows employees to show vulnerability and address workplace misconduct by reporting toxic incidents online.