It's a classic challenge faced by human resources practitioners around the world and in every organization. An employee reaches out to express a concern, share an observation, or in more extreme situations report unethical or illegal behavior. But just before they are ready to share their story they ask the question....
"This is confidential, right?"
One of the key points in this situation is that you should feel good that this conversation is taking place at all. For those human resources professionals that are never faced with this perceived dilemma of confidentiality you should beware.
Is there a problem with the corporate culture that has the employees afraid to step forward? Has the HR team inadvertently given off the impression that coming to them will not make a difference?
"The fact that an upset employee is willing to risk how they are perceived by coming to HR is a major vote of confidence that should not be taken lightly."
How About You
Ultimately the answer is no, it's not confidential. The information has been shared and now you have to do something with it. Your skills and experience will dictate your next steps, and should help drive the necessary changes. How do you answer the confidentiality question?
I'd love to hear from you.