Top Ten Tips for... Activating and Encouraging 'Employee Voice'
In the modern world of work, employee engagement is essential to the success of businesses in any sector. One of the best ways to increase engagement, as well as staff motivation and job satisfaction, is to activate and encourage your organisation’s ‘employee voice’.
Read on for our Top Ten Tips...
1. Tell your team what you’re looking for
In order to encourage your employees to use their voice, they need to know what you’re looking for. If you have a vision of how you’d like your workplace to look, with a team that feels comfortable voicing their thoughts and ideas, then start by sharing that vision with your employees. Let them know which areas of the business in particular that you’re looking for input on and share your employee voice goals with everyone involved.
2. Pick tools that work for your business
There are a variety of tools available that you can implement to encourage employee voice. Pick the ones that would work best for your organisation, depending on your size, structure and number of employees. Some of our favourite examples of employee voice tools include:
- Suggestion boxes
- Team meetings
- Staff surveys
- Focus groups
- Online forums and polls
- A seat at the boardroom table
3. Use these tools consistently
Now that you’ve started to implement these tools, it’s important to check them frequently and consistently. For example, it’s all well and good having a suggestion box in place, but not if it never gets checked and just sits there overflowing with potentially brilliant ideas. It’s important that your team feels as though they have a voice – but even more important that they feel that voice is being heard.
4. Start at the top
In order to establish a culture that encourages employee voice, you need to start at the top with your leaders and managers. Do your higher-ups feel comfortable engaging regularly with employees? Does their work-load allow time for it? Facilitating change at a higher level will also show your employees that you’re serious about activating an employee voice.
5. Keep employees in the loop
In organisations with a strong employee voice, usually the whole team feels valued and like their work matters. Effective communication works both ways and now that you’re encouraging transparency in the workplace, your team should be receiving the same from you. As you implement changes in the business and overcome challenges and setbacks, why not share these with your team as a whole? This regular communication will help your employees understand how their contributions are impacting the business overall. An engaged employee is often a motivated one!
6. Have regular check-ins
You may also decide to have more frequent one-on-one check-ins with your employees. Even if you have already implemented new employee voice tools, some members of staff may feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts in a more formal, one-to-one situation. Whether these meetings are annual reviews, or monthly and weekly catch-ups, you are giving your team as many opportunities as possible to be heard.
7. Create a safe, open environment
For many people, the idea of giving feedback can be difficult or nerve-wracking – particularly if they feel as though it may not be received well. Some may choose to stay silent all together. When encouraging your employees to use their voice, one of the most important steps is making sure you’re also creating an environment where they feel psychologically safe. By cultivating an open, honest workplace culture that prioritises employee health and wellbeing, you’re showcasing your commitment to your team.
8. Listen to feedback
Now that you have employee voice tools in place in an environment that allows staff to speak their mind, it’s important that you listen to the thoughts and suggestions you’re receiving. Take time out to listen and keep track of their responses and thank your team for their comments. By showing that you value their voice, you’re helping to ensure your employees feel comfortable coming forward with ideas again in the future!
9. Evaluate and integrate employee ideas
Not every suggestion you receive will be a perfect fit for your company and your business model, however it’s a good idea to have a fair, un-biased process in place to help evaluate the feedback – this will ensure that no suitable suggestions are going to waste. When you’ve decided which employee ideas are going to be implemented, you can then feed this back to your team and ask for more suggestions if needed.
10. Measure the results
As you continue to integrate employee suggestions and encourage transparency and communication, take some time to measure the results. How has this new way of working impacted the business? How do your employees feel when they see their ideas come to fruition? Do they feel valued? How has that affected employee engagement and motivation? Activating your company’s ‘employee voice’ can have a hugely positive effect on everyone involved and can lead to a more productive, motivated workforce and a stronger business overall.
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