THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Should you try to stop staff criticising your organisation?

Last week the Government and the Territorial Army sought to stop members going to the press

Last week the Government and the Territorial Army sought to stop

members going to the press

Mike Maryon

Bass Brewers

’It’s healthy to criticise an organisation. We have a system in place

where staff can send their criticisms anonymously via e-mail and the

issues are responded to. Effective company communication is based on

letting people know the strategy of the company and letting them work

out the tactics themselves, people should be expected to be thinkers not


Michael Pounsford

Banner McBride

’Guidelines are legitimate, every company has its business secrets and

people do have to be careful what they say to the outside world. What is

important is that companies should establish a climate of trust, then it

can be clear what can and can’t be said externally. But an organisation

that tried to gag people would simply be limiting the flow of

communication throughout the company.’

Colette Dorward

Smythe Dorward Lambert

’It would be unfortunate if an organisation had to go as far as gagging

its employees, it would encourage disloyalty rather than loyalty. The

need for confidentiality is important for things such as share prices

and other sensitive kinds of information but it would be far more

effective to have confidentiality built through trust, rather than to be

reduced to ruling through fear or another form of command and control


Susan Smith

Institute of Employment Consultants

’It’s understandable from an employer’s point of view, they have a right

to expect certain loyalties as long as they are not breaking the law. If

the channels of communication exist where people are encouraged to make

constructive criticisms that is very healthy as it allows improvement

but sometimes individuals feel they haven’t got these channels and

resort to going public to get something done.’

Angela Edward

Institute of Personnel and Development

’If people do slag off an organisation then it’s counter-productive for

the organisation to impose an embargo, it simply backfires and makes

things look doubly suspicious. Companies could view the whole thing

positively and see it as an opportunity to address problems within the


Some companies do try to gag their employees with gagging clauses but

new legislation, the whistleblowers charter, will soon be introduced to

give people more protection

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