Employee voice and employee engagement are probably terms you’ve heard before. And whilst they are linked in creating a better place to work, they are two very distinct concepts with very different meanings.
But both are most definitely factors in creating a productive and happy workforce, which is why it’s important to understand the difference between the two so organisations can create more effective strategies, leading to enhanced employee satisfaction and performance… Music to any employer’s ears.
Employee voice - Giving your employees a say
First things first, let’s talk about what employee voice actually means. When we talk about employee voice, we’re actually referring to all the things your employees share about themselves, their colleagues, or your organisation that could have an impact on decisions or change within the workplace – on a personal or organisational level. It’s all about creating a culture where employees feel heard, valued and where their input is actively sought after through a variety of tools and processes to enable this.
This can take many forms, including:
- Regular employee feedback tools – These can include surveys, identify-protected feedback tools, peer-to-peer recognition, and two way messenger services to encourage employees to feedback and gather their insight.
- Open-door policies – This is when management makes it clear to their people that they’re welcome to approach them at any given time about anything that may be concerning them without fear of reprisal.
- One-to-ones – This more traditional approach where employees can give face to face feedback, allows managers to offer in person solutions and offer empathy to any concerns.
- Suggestion boxes – Organisations can take the simple approach of having a box that their people can anonymously write suggestions on pieces of paper and drop them in for them to be considered by managers.
- Town halls or employee forums – Group settings are another way employees can share and discuss their thoughts on the workplace, giving leaders a potential vision on how many people are feeling the same way about a point raised.
As an employer, it’s important to remember that every employee has a voice (even those quiet employees you don’t hear from as often) and should be empowered and encouraged to use it. Having a wide range of methods from digital, to anonymous, to in-person is often the best way to gather feedback from more people – with added flexibility for the platforms that suit them.
When organisations make decisions, there are many data points to consider and if you don’t have employee voice in place, you’re missing an opportunity to get insight from a significant source of data… your employee insights.
When your employees feel confident in sharing their thoughts, feelings and opinions, they feel:
- Their voice is heard, and valued
- They can express their honest opinions a work without fear of repercussions
- Their organisation welcomes their insight and feedback
- They can contribute to how changes in the organisation are made
- Empowered to drive positive change
It’s important to note that empowering your people to use their voices isn’t just the responsibility of your HR team. In fact, the best and most effective employee voice initiatives occur when leaders and decision makers show a willingness to listen, and are invested in the outcomes.
If leaders prioritise improving organisational inefficiencies and enhancing employee engagement and experience, they can gain invaluable insights into their workplace. These insights can help make data-driven decisions – the best kind of decisions, because data doesn’t lie!
What are the benefits of employee voice?
When organisations seek to amplify the voices of their employees and harness their feedback to inform decisions and changes, the results can’t be understated.
Here are some reasons to give every one of your employees a say in how things are done. Organisations who listen to their people and act accordingly are:
Look at those for numbers, not 1, not 2, but 5 positive stats showing the impact employee voice can have on your organisations.
Employee engagement - Fostering connections
We’re on our way to understanding employee voice and how it differs from employee engagement, but we’re only halfway there. So now let’s delve into what is meant by employee engagement, and how it’s NOT the same thing as employee voice.
Employee engagement encompasses an employee’s emotional and cognitive affinity to their workplace, and looks at how committed and connected they are.
It’s an umbrella term for looking at factors such as:
We know what you’re thinking, that’s a lot of things to consider. And it is. But if you can get the balance right, the return of your employee experience and business performance are worth their weight in gold.
What are the benefits of employee engagement:
Once you’ve cracked your organisations strategy to finding exactly what your people need to improve engagement, you’ll be looking at figures like:
Engaged employees tend to enjoy their work more, are more productive, and in a lot of cases, stick around for longer. In fact, according to Hay Group, engaged employees generate revenue 43% more than disengaged ones.
And the benefits don’t stop there, engaged employees are more likely to provide excellent customer service, and are good ambassadors for the business.
Fostering employee engagement can have its challenges in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing working world. But, when leaders create a culture that supports engagement and provides their people with opportunities for things like growth, recognition and creating a sense of community, the possibilities for business success are limitless.
What’s the connection?
As we said at the beginning, employee voice and employee engagement are often linked together when it comes to creating better places to work.
When employees are given a voice, they are more likely to feel engaged in their work and committed to their organisation. Through employee voice and insight, organisations should be able to do a number of things better. Better change management, understanding the drivers and barriers of employee engagement, and understanding what’s driving good and bad employee experiences are just some of the ways organisations can make improvements.
Similarly, when employees are engaged, they are more likely to be invested in their workplace, and feel empowered to use their voice to make it even better, and suggest improvements to drive success. Employee voice is usually a driver of employee engagement, with the tools, processes and initiatives driving employees to interact and communicate their thoughts and feelings.
Is one more important than the other?
Employee voice and engagement are both equally as important for building a positive culture, productive workplace and improving the experience of employees.
By prioritising the two, organisations can create a workplace where employees feel valued, supported and motivated to contribute to their organisation.
Need some help with finding the best ways to amplify your employee voices, and empower engagement? Get in touch with our experts today who will be happy to give you a run through of how Hive can help you.