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Building company culture with honest conversations
When Allnorth holds quarterly online town hall meetings with its distributed workforce, senior leaders do their best to encourage open discussions. However, leaders often get only silence. Employees inevitably fear the consequences of speaking honestly in front of their bosses.
CEO Darby Kreitz and Director of People Development Kris Kotzer used Thoughtexchange to create an open environment that let staff share whatever was on their minds and learn from each other.
Three weeks before their last quarterly meeting, Kreitz asked staff across multiple locations this question: What are some important topics you’d like me to address at the quarterly meeting?
Nearly 250 people participated and the results were surprising. Staff were collectively concerned about what they saw as a high turnover rate.
“It came through from a lot of different locations, and I wasn’t expecting that,” Kotzer explains. “I know everyone who works in this organization. I know everyone who leaves and I know why they left. It wasn’t an upward trend of a significant amount. But our team really felt it was.”
Understanding this opened the door for Kreitz to address the misperception and other important staff feedback at the meeting. Hearing openly from staff and addressing tough topics in this way was scary for many managers in the company. However, Kotzer says practicing this kind of courageous leadership is worth it.
“If we don’t hear, then we won’t know,” Kotzer shares. “As leaders, we have to be comfortable with hearing some of the good and some of the bad at the same time.”
He adds that letting employees openly share their concerns with each other through Thoughtexchange brings them together by showing that others feel the same way.
“They know they’re not the only ones thinking about it,” Kotzer adds. “Then, we can figure out what’s going on and really move things forward.”
If we don’t hear, then we won’t know. As leaders, we have to be comfortable with hearing some of the good and some of the bad at the same time.Kris Kotzer, CPHR - Director, People Development
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Location: British Columbia
Size: 500 staff
Revenue: $75 million
Thoughtexchange provides software solutions that bring people together, build trust and make progress on important topics. Whether it’s employees, customers or whole communities, our solutions effortlessly connect you to your stakeholders. People can confidentially and independently share their thoughts, appreciate other points of view and understand how their perspectives are connected to decisions. Our patent-pending data analysis gives you the insights to make informed decisions and take action.