This was the headline from the BBC report into Kent police officer Fran Croucher as she resigned in January. Now she is standing for the position of Police Commissioner.
Accused and cleared of wasting police time, she resigned as she felt “betrayed” by senior officers. Ms Croucher commented that “It goes back to… police complaints not being dealt with effectively and the need for a police commissioner to hold Kent Police to account in this area”. This highlights the difficult balance for senior managers and leaders everywhere when staff raise issues and voice concerns.
Having the right framework in place for staff at all levels to speak out, and for it to be challenged appropriately, is a very difficult balance but is one which is critical to ensure that the connection between board and shop-floor/frontline is achieved. My experience is that it is only by talking with staff, actively walking to floor – and for the brave, actually working on the frontline – can you make the connection needed to ensure the culture of openness and continuous improvement permeates and delivers success.
There is much to be said for the employee share ownership model and many organisations have yet to grasp the opportunity that this presents. In times of austerity, when many business are striving for efficiencies the forward looking are involving their staff as it is often on the frontline where wastage can be seen and great ideas germinate. This can only work if staff feel supported and able to come forward without the fear of incrimination!