The Importance of Employee Voice

 

Monday 16th April is World Voice Day, an event that celebrates healthy voices and aims to highlight the importance of voice in society.

At People Lab, we know that employee voice is central to effective employee engagement – and World Voice Day is the perfect opportunity to spread the word!

So, what is employee voice?

Employee voice is one of the five enablers of employee engagement (alongside strategic narrative, leadership, integrity and involvement). When employee voice exists within an organisation, employees feel able to challenge and reinforce views (between functions and externally). A continuous, ongoing dialogue exists within the organisation, through a variety of channels (from companywide initiatives, to informal conversations with leaders and managers). Employee views are actively sought – and listened to – because they’re seen as central to the solution.

What’s the point of employee voice?

As one of the five enablers, we know that employee voice plays a key role in effective employee engagement. Listening to your people (and ensuring they know they’ll be heard as part of your organisation’s culture) is essential in achieving this. We can’t understand how employees feel, what they want to achieve or contribute, or what their views are on the organisation, if we fail to listen to them. If employees feel that they aren’t being heard – or worse, that their views don’t need to be heard – how can organisations expect them to be happy, positive and engaged at work?

We also know that developing employee voice has numerous benefits, for both employees and employers. The CIPD states that organisations with a greater voice for employees have been shown to experience reduced conflict, improved effectiveness day-to-day, and higher levels of productivity and innovation. In these organisations, employees benefit from having greater influence over their work, higher job satisfaction, and improved well-being overall.

How are organisations developing employee voice?

In our 2017 Spotlight on the Employee Engagement Profession report, 59% of our participants shared that they were focusing their efforts on employee voice. When we asked what their budgets were being spent on, employee voice appeared in the top five at 44%. We also found that 19% were running surveys on a quarterly basis, compared to just 4% in the previous year – telling us that organisations are increasingly understanding the value of listening to employees. Looking to the year ahead, employee voice was a top priority for 11% of these organisations.

Engage for Success lists some of the mechanisms organisations have used to encourage open conversations with employees. This includes online surveys, regular face-to-face meetings to discuss changes and developments, and forums between senior leaders and ‘frontline’ employees to discuss concerns and solutions.

What can I do in my organisation?

If you want to find out more about developing and improving employee voice in your organisation, we’ve put together a free guide that you can share with your colleagues. Download our Top Five Tips here to get started!

Do you think employee voice is important? What does your organisation do to ensure your voice is heard? We’d love to hear all about it – let’s keep the conversation going via Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments section below.

 

Liked this article? Why not try…

CIPD Employee Voice Factsheet

Spotlight on the Employee Engagement Profession (full report)

Lip service: Do your employees really have a voice?

The five enablers of employee engagement

 

 

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