Sure... right? We do our annual reviews. We sit down with our employees and we say, "good job with this or that" or "we'd like to see some improvment on your TPS reports". Of course our employees know where they stand.
Ok, and if I were to ask you, say, "what percentage of your employees is uncertain about their job security?" or perhaps something a little more specific like, "what percentage of your employees thought they were on the right track for a promotion right up until they didn't get one?" and "how did not getting that promotion affect their performance?", "did they start looking for another job?", "do they think you care?". You might say something like, "I'm not sure. But, more importantly, I'm not sure it matters"... and I'd believe you. And you'd have to also give me that your employees don't know where they stand; that you don't know where your employees stand; that maybe you don't know where you stand.
It starts to look somewhat amazing that the company functions. Of course, if you were to ask around, folks would say, "ahh, but we are such a dysfunctional, uncooperative, catty, bunch." He knows it, she knows it, I know it and you know it.
If you're a mamanager, start scheduling some time, right now, for each memeber of you team to come in and talk to you about "things". Maybe type up and distribute a little survey and put a box outside your door or cube or tent. Make it a "check yes or no" survey and pass it out. Get some feedback. Ask your team if they want to do a little survey too. Ask HR if you can do a big survey. Ask HR to ask if you can do a really really big survey. Ask some questions.