- Determine whether the allegation has any substance. In other words, is there any fire accompanying the smoke?
- If possible, find out why more preferred feedback mechanisms (including the chain of command and your HR office) apparently weren't used.
- Quietly approach a couple of individuals whom you trust—people who have their fingers pretty firmly on the pulse of the organization. Privately and confidentially ask if they think the letter accurately represents reality. If so, ask what things they have observed that supports the claims made in the letter.
- Conduct a robust, broad-scope employee survey—now, not later. If yours is at all a labor-intensive business, you should probably be doing them anyway. A well-designed and implemented survey process has legitimate built-in anonymity. This is not a do-it-yourself job. Hire an experienced service provider with a track record of successful implementations. Insist on discreet reporting by managers, and pay close attention to the findings. If the survey, the private interviews, or both, corroborate the anonymous letter, you'll need to devise—with input from your CEO—a plan to treat the symptoms and root cause. Depending on what you find, your CEO may need to brief the board of directors
- Lastly, encourage (insist, if you're in a position to do so) the CEO or another senior officer to meet with the management team as a group to discuss the anonymous letter, its contents and its tone. The message should be clear and unambiguous:
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