Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Complaints Communication Responsiveness

At a recent management meeting, it was suggested that we put in a hotline for the employees to call with anonymous complaints, accusations, and tips. Are companies doing this type of thing, and what is your view?

Employee hotlines are in fact becoming a hot item, as a growing number of companies are installing them to serve the very purposes that you mentioned. If the employees feel reluctant to openly express their concerns, or in the more likely case that they fear some retaliation for doing so, hotlines have been proposed as the solution.

The problem that is not being adequately addressed in these situations is the reason why the employees need to have a hotline in the first place. There are real questions as to why the employees are upset about so many issues, why they feel that they cannot address management directly, and why they fear retaliation for expressing themselves.

A hotline actually provides little more than symptomatic relief. The employees are upset about something, and here is a way for them to express their concerns about it. While this hot-line may be a welcome addition to the company, it is more important for management to look at whatever may be causing the employees to sense that they need a hot-line at all.

When there is a good deal of open communication, mutual respect and trust, and honest and equitable treatment, interest in a hotline typically cools off.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!