Employee activism the case for listening

September 29, 2022

“Speak up!” “Bring your whole self to work!” This invitation that has been ringing down the hallways and Team calls of many organizations in the past few years. Leaders should hardly be surprised when employees take that invitation at face value and speak up on political issues they deeply care about such as climate change, human rights issues in the supply chain, sexism, and racism. But leaders are worried because political conversations in the workplace come fraught with risk.

According to Megan Reitz, Professor of Leadership and Dialogue at Hult International Business School, who teaches leaders how to foster a psychologically safe work environment where employees feel it is safe to speak up without fear of retribution. An executive coach, researcher and author of “Speak Up: Say What Needs to be Said and Hear What Needs to be Heard," Reitz says giving employees a voice is one of the best ways to find out what’s working and not working in your organization. She helps leaders develop an awareness of their “conversational habits” so they can spot how and when they (often inadvertently) silence others. By creating a culture where employees feel they can openly share ideas and concerns, leaders get a clearer view of what’s really happening in their organizations – including potentially damaging issues that may be hidden due to employee fear of speaking up – and build more collaborative, innovative teams. Reitz’s work is particularly urgent right now as remote and hybrid work settings require leaders to be more proactive about listening to employees and inviting in their thoughts.

Ibec is delighted that Megan will be joining us at this year’s HR Leadership Summit on 20 October in Croke Park. She will invite delegates to think about the 'conversational habits' that develop in organisations and the impact that they have on innovation, integrity and inclusion. She will discuss why it’s critical for leaders to understand how perceptions of power influence on what gets said and who gets heard in organisations and provide tools for leaders to develop psychological safety and learn to listen more effectively.

As businesses globally experience the rise of employee activism, leaders must know how to respond. Megan Reitz will discuss this and more at the Ibec HR Leadership Summit.


Book today to join us.