In a previous post, we discussed how Danny Crichton attempts to explain the reasons behind a growing level of distrust in employers and their HR departments. “Just as concerns about sexual harassment and other issues has intensified, trust in human resources, and really, the entire executive teams of companies, is reaching a nadir,” he says.
Crichton cites the Edelman Trust Barometer, which has found that a majority of rank-and-file employees don’t trust their company’s leadership, and that less than a quarter believe that their CEO is ethical. “As trust has declined,” says Crichton, “so has the ability of HR to diffuse complicated workplace situations without resorting to its legal toolset.”
But just because employees have less and less trust in their companies, their executive team, and their HR departments doesn’t mean they don’t still have concerns, questions, and issues they want to discuss. So, where are they turning? Crichton points to two specific apps/services that have found a ready audience among employees.
Blind was founded in South Korea and first launched in the United States in late 2015. Blind boasts tens of thousands of users from companies like Microsoft and Amazon as well as employees from thousands of other companies.
The app requires a company e-mail address for users to sign in. Once signed in, users are able to connect anonymously with other employees from the same company to discuss topics like HR issues and policies, layoffs, compensation, and others.
In some ways, on the other end of the spectrum from Blind is Bravely, which Crichton says is aimed at exploring how to handle difficult conversations at the workplace more effectively, and often with the explicit approval of a company’s HR department.
“Bravely is purchased by companies to be an independent third-party and help people learn and actually hold difficult conversations at work,” says Crichton. One of the company’s founders says the app has had the most success in companies of 100–350 employees, where HR processes are starting to solidify but the culture around communication hasn’t fully matured.
HR departments need to have the trust of their employees if they are truly going to be effective stewards for their organizations. As employee trust lessens and third-party apps and services emerge to provide new outlets for employees to air concerns and seek advice, HR professionals will find it increasingly difficult to instill trust in their workforce.