Are secrets destroying your company’s culture?

Did you read the articles yesterday about a sexual harassment case at Fox News Corporation? If you didn’t, you can check it out here.

So I posted a link to the article yesterday on my LinkedIn page as well as my company’s Facebook page. LinkedIn didn’t get much response or activity. My Facebook post though – whoa! I have to tell you that I have given anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training many times during my career. I try to make the examples a little funny so people don’t completely check out during the presentation of what can be – let’s face it – dry material. But now I have a whole new set of examples to give from the responses I got on Facebook.

Are secrets destroying your company’s culture?

The responses were raw and honest. Social media is our opportunity to vent exactly what we think – even though it’s not even close to being anonymous. The responses went from “Of course this case is harassment!” to “She’s old and got fired so now she’s suing!” to “Way to play the woman card!”

These responses were not surprising. Definitely interesting and somewhat disappointing.

A couple of thoughts about secrets. People having affairs or alleging affairs or inappropriate relationships in the workplace can be distracting to the forward progress of the organization. Whether these relationships are kept in secret or not, these interpersonal relationships tend to disrupt the natural flow of a team. Are they always a form of harassment? Not always. But typically they impact the culture of the organization.

Company executives or ethics officers are usually the last people to know about theft or fraud. These activities are kept as a secret from leadership but often employees know it’s happening. It’s a secret everyone is forced to keep until the issue bubbles to the surface. In the meantime the secrets negatively impact the culture of the organization.

All of this got me to thinking, What are the real opinions of people who work at companies? In training sessions people are generally polite. They might chuckle at a few jokes that are told, they might answer a few questions here and there, but what are they really thinking? Do they have enough trust to voice their real opinions? I haven’t seen brutal honest often in the workplace and certainly not as often as I have seen on social media. But if people really believe the things they write in social media and those same people work at your company are their real beliefs the secrets that tread just under the surface of your company’s culture? Are those the secrets that bubble up and cause the disruptions to team work and goal achievements and overall culture?

I don’t have an answer to any of these questions. I have thoughts but no answers. Do you have thoughts or answers? I’d like to read them!