The enablers of engagement – a closer look at employee voice
“Employees’ views are sought out; they are listened to and see that their opinions count and make a difference. They speak out and challenge when appropriate. A strong sense of listening and of responsiveness permeates the organization, enabled by effective communication”
Ensuring your employees have a voice enables them to take part in dialogue across your organisation about what matters, which impact the current and future performance of your organisation. It can also lead to better informed decision making.
There are some organisational pre-requisites, which help to ensure employee voice is authentic and effective, rather than seen as yet another initiative. Like so many aspects of engagement, employee voice at a first glance appears to be a fairly simple and straightforward concept, which should be easy to implement.
The reality is quite different.
Firstly there must be good levels of trust and psychological safety within your organisation. Employees are not going to express their ideas or contribute to the conversation if trust is low. Employees won't speak up if they feel that their contribution is subject to negative consequences in any way. Employees need to feel safe to speak their minds without fear of any repercussion. You only have to consider the need to reinforce the confidentiality of engagement surveys, or focus groups for example, to see that trust is often difficult to build and all too easy to lose.
They list these as:
- Good communication
The report argues that this style of leadership helps to encourage employee voice.
- The purpose of voice: sustainable business success
- The outcomes of voice: engagement, decision making and innovation
- The culture and behaviours associated with voice: safety to speak, leadership style, values, authenticity & trust, devolvement, inclusivity and influence
- The structures and processes associated with voice: voice channels, development & training