The Importance Of Employee Voice 

Employee Voice

The Importance Of Employee Voice

Successful businesses all have one thing in common. Employee well being is front and centre on their priority list. Why? Simple, when you care about your employees, they’ll care about you. Employees that are passionate about their company are the very same employees that will go the extra mile to deliver exceptional service to customers on a regular basis. Empower your staff, empower your business. That’s where employee voice comes in.

For employers, employee voice is synonymous with higher levels of innovation and productivity – not to mention the added benefits of improved organisational procedures. For staff, employee voice leads to an increase in job satisfaction and a greater influence on the way in which they work.

A shift towards improving the employee experience has massive implications for the modern-day workplace. Big businesses are starting to listen to their staff, value their opinions and embrace a more rounded, holistic vision of themselves. No more is decision making and company strategy the sole preserve of those in leadership roles. These days, feedback from employees is welcome if not sought after. This is, in part, due to the fact businesses are now savvy to the fact that small teams of high-ranking individuals rarely possess all the knowledge spread across the entirety of their organisation.

With organisations growing more and more complex, specialist roles are becoming more common and important. Those that rely on specialist staff to deliver unique, nuanced perspectives benefit from valuable and experience led insights. It allows organisations to utilise vast knowledge bases courtesy of their most skilled people. This facilitates greater and more accurate insights, enabling leaders to inform their strategies, make better decisions and benefit from more positive outcomes.

Identifying Problems

For many big brands around the world, employee voice is an effective tool for outlining problems that may be occurring within their business. It has been widely reported that ineffective processes waste 26% of an employee’s working day.

If a staff member feels that something could work better, or that they could do something more efficiently, having a strong employee voice will give the employee the platform necessary to make their comments more visible to superiors. By putting their feedback into an open and much more visible forum (often for other team members to see) pressure is put on those at the top to provide the resources necessary to address the problem at hand.

Not only does employee voice prove as an efficient means for staff to highlight potential problem areas to those higher up the chain, but it’s also an effective means of accelerating the communication process  to solve the problem. How many times are issues highlighted, only to never be resolved because of poor and inefficient communication between departments? With a strong employee voice the ‘bureaucratic middleman’ is taken right out of the equation. With leadership having full visibility of the employee and or department that raised the red flag in the first place, they are empowered to resolve the situation much faster and much more efficiently.

The Importance Of Employee Voice - Will Murray CEO of Oak Digital Workplace and Employee Engagement Expert

“Integrating employee voice into your internal communications strategy is vital if you want to facilitate prolonged and sustainable company growth. Encouraging an open, honest and transparent environment within your business is a prerequisite to creating a more positive and productive workplace. Champion your team and they will champion you.”

Will Murray, CEO of Oak Digital Workplace and Internal Communications Expert

The Importance of Perspective

Businesses in which employees can speak freely have been historically shown to be more agile and adaptable when it comes to overcoming problems within the business. By utilising employee voice within an organisation, those in leadership positions are better placed to identify problems at their root and rely on the experience of those on the frontlines daily. If a problem arises that an employee with the relevant experience may able to find a suggestion to, it only makes sense for a business to extend its lines of communication to incorporate all staff – regardless of seniority.

It’s easy for managers to lose sight of what matters and lose touch of what matters. Unless staff can be truthful about the effectiveness of how day-to-day operations are run, the implementation of meaningful changes can be few and far between. A lack of real perspective from those at the top can prove one of the biggest barriers to success.

According to Collins (2001) encouraging an atmosphere in which employees are able to speak truthfully is essential for organisations to respond to changing industry conditions and address problems within their business. Unless employees can be honest about how an organisation really operates, it will prove difficult to make meaningful improvements. Sustainable change starts with transparency and honesty. By being open with their employers, employees can provide an indication of what is and what isn’t working.

Freedom of speech is key. Allowing your employees to share their opinions on the shortcomings (and successes) of a company is imperative to encouraging growth. It’s important to reinforce the notion that constructive conversation is encouraged and that negative repercussions aren’t in play.

Perlow and Williams suggest that when employees are incapable of speaking out, negative emotions like resentment and anger become much more common. Negative emotions impact our ability to be productive and place a further strain on professional relationships.

Maintaining a Competitive Edge With Employee Voice

Revenue, turnover and awards aren’t the only things worth competing for if you’re trying to grow your business. Chances are that if you aren’t, your competitors are already utilising employee voice to gain a competitive edge. In doing so, they’re capitalising on what’s known as social capital. The more social capital they accrue, the more effectively their teams work together. When a company works efficiently, financial success is never far behind. Social capital is an essential resource for those trying to take their business to the next level. Defined by Investopedia as a ‘positive product of human interaction” and as “the contribution to an organisation’s success that can be attributed to personal relationships and networks”, social capital is an important ingredient to achieving success.

Not only can social capital be used to measure how effectively teams are working and the overall functionality of their workplace dynamic but it’s also a useful indicator of your employee’s overall satisfaction. Now more than ever, social capital is a critical indicator of wider company success.

employee voice

Employee Voice and Your Business

When it comes to determining where employee voice fits in your business, it’s important that you assess your own individual needs and the needs of your employees.Whilst employee voice offers businesses a variety of different benefits, no two businesses are the same. What works for one may not work for another.

It’s simply a case of trial and error and figuring out the most effective way forward for your particular niche. Whatever method you choose, it’s important that it reflects the transparency and honesty that you first set out to achieve.

It’s worth reminding yourself every now and again that your employees are the secret sauce to your success. Profit is nothing without people. With the unique perspective of your employees, you can focus on building solid foundations and defining a purposeful trajectory.

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Your knowledge is very significant.

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