Communication and Anonymity: would they mix?

21.07.2010 01:00

Generally speaking, agony aunts have beenused widely and by all kinds of media for the past century. These have coveredall sorts of subjects, from proper dinner etiquette to… well, just about anysubject that is treated in a publication.

For better or for worse, companycommunications are rarely covered in such columns; the outcome of this is that,for a professional experiencing communication issues and conflict, there arenot many tried-and-tested ways to get advice on a specific issue, prior toattempting to resolve it.

However, there are some philosophicalperspectives one might follow: the preventive, or „teaching“ approach and the palliativeapproach, which aims to deal with overwhelming, existing problems withoutrequiring the employee to have any personal skills.

The former is the approach followed by the ECo-C:in attempting to teach people how to communicate but also how to recognise andisolate conflict, ECo-C graduates should be able to defuse conflicts andprevent them happening. As to the latter, it appears to us to be embodied inthe policies of AE… that is to say, the AnonymousEmployee website.   

In a recent article, a survey was presented,whose results suggested that millions were lost due to poor communicationpractices in Austrian company, practices that taking the ECo-C remedies. The AEwebsite constitutes further proof of how critical this matter is, since nine ofthe 24 major concerns listed on the site’s home page are by-and-large topicscovered by the ECo-C (Workplace Bullying, Workplace Violence, OverworkingIssues, Poor Employee Morale, Lack of Training, Discrimination, Favouritism, PoorSupervision, and Poor Communication).

The aforementioned organisation is, in its ownwords, dedicated to the „resolution of concerns“, going so far as to offeremployees an anonymous platform where to voice their issues without fear ofretaliation. However, from our own perspective, we can ask ourselves: when anemployee dares not communicate with their supervisor or boss in person, caninformation truly flow? What does the business in itself actually lose when anemployee prefers anonymity? It seems likely that this approach may be bettersuited to resolving issues such as fraud or sexual harassment. Yet, as advocatesof prevention, not cure, it may also seem to us that the general inability tomake a point in a manner that is personal, impassionate, but also respectfuland properly communicative would create a cycle that would harm a business.


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