Employee voice and organisational performance go hand-in-hand.
In fact, companies that listen to their people perform better in almost every metric that matters.
Not to mention that taking the time to ask your people what problems they face at work and then doing your best to fix them is the right thing to do.
Here’s a closer look at exactly how giving your employees a say in how your business is run can transform your fortunes.
1. Employee voice drives better decisions
Back in 1989, the business consultant Sidney Yoshida coined the term “the iceberg of ignorance”.
Because an organisation’s senior leaders are a few steps removed from its day-to-day operations, they’re aware of just 4% of all their business’s problems according to Yoshida’s research. In other words: they only see the tip of the iceberg.
An organisation’s front-line employees, on the other hand, are aware of 100% of its problems. They’re the ones dealing with them every day, after all.
While you should probably take those exact numbers with a pinch of salt, the point still stands. The people on the front-line of your business are aware of a lot more of its problems than those in the C-suite.
Giving your employees a voice—and fostering a company culture where they’re comfortable using that voice to be open and honest about the problems they face at work—will go a long way to revealing more of that iceberg to your leaders.
Once you know what headaches your people are dealing with, you can address them. And when your employees see you’re willing to fix the problems in your business, they’re more likely to be encouraged to come to you with more of them—revealing even more of that iceberg for you to melt away.
2. Employee voice reduces workplace conflict
Everyone has their own set of personality quirks and certain ways they like to do things. And that can lead to tension in even the most tight-knit groups.
Which makes workplace conflict inevitable—that’s just human nature.
Your people will need an outlet for the frustrations and frictions that come from navigating the different personalities they’ll encounter in the office. Do nothing and that’s going to end up being around the watercooler with some sympathetic colleagues. Not exactly ideal for workplace morale.
Empower your people with a real voice and you’ll give them a way to open up about workplace conflict in a much more constructive way. Then you can smooth things over by keeping clashing personalities apart where you can and intervening when it’s needed.
3. Employee voice boosts engagement
It’s hard to engage in your work when you feel like a cog in a machine.
So, it’s no surprise 74% of people feel more engaged at work when they feel their voice is heard.
That’s why employee voice and engagement go hand-in-hand. When your employees don’t think their opinion counts, it’s natural for them to feel like a replaceable part. Empowering them with a voice is therefore a surefire way to improve employee engagement.
4. Employee voice improves employee retention
When Travelodge started its journey with Hive in 2019 to help it reduce employee turnover, employee voice helped them identify their key drivers of employee retention.
In fact, three-quarters of employees who left the organisation within three months of the first employee survey Travelodge ran didn’t participate in that survey. This was a clear sign that those employees didn’t feel like they had a voice.
So, our People Scientists recommended a four-pronged action plan to tackle the issues raised by their people—with a strategy moving forward that would help them predict the risk of employee turnover and take preventative action.
The result? A 5.5% drop in employee turnover—their best year-on-year decrease ever recorded.
The key takeaway? Give your people a voice and they’re a lot more likely to stick around. In fact, organisations who listen to their people and act accordingly are:
Source: Josh Bersin
5. Employee voice drives customer success
Listen to your employees and respond to their feedback and they’re more likely to be happy, engaged, and productive. They’re also more likely to go the extra mile, bring their best selves to work, and feel like they win when your company wins.
Which is why it’s no surprise that organisations that give their employees a voice are 8.5X more likely to satisfy and retain customers.
Source: Josh Bersin
6. Employee voice boosts organisational resilience
By giving its employees a voice, an organisation opens up a dialogue with its people about how it can improve. This shows your people you trust them, respect their opinions, and want to be a great place for them to work.
In short, it shows your people that you’re looking out for them. And earning that trust can be the foundation that holds your company together if things ever get dicey.
Employee voice only becomes more important in times of adversity. If your business’s future is looking bleak, it’s crucial you identify and address the issues you’re facing as fast as possible. And employee voice is key to that.
Listening to—and understanding—your employees becomes even more important in tough times, when they might even be wondering if they’re still going to have a job a few months down the line.
Giving your people a voice will make them more committed to your organisation. And a committed team is a resilient team – one that can navigate turbulence together rather than falling apart at the seams when the going gets tough.
Organisations who listen to their people and act accordingly are:
Source: Josh Bersin
7. Employee voice drives innovation
Organisations that listen to their people and act on their feedback are 3.6X more likely to innovate effectively.
And it’s not hard to imagine why. Because of the iceberg problem, the employees spending their days in the trenches of your business can provide insights your leadership team would never come up with.
Plus, gathering insights from a more diverse group of people is more likely to lead to a creative solution to a problem. And if you’re like most businesses, your organisation on the whole is probably more diverse than your leadership team.
Give your people a say in your strategy and chances are you’ll end up with more innovative and effective solutions to the problems your organisation faces.
Source: Josh Bersin
The final word
The link between employee voice and organisational performance is clear. When your people feel heard, they tend to be more engaged with their work, more resilient, and more effective.
Grab your copy of The Power of Employee Voice to discover some simple and effective strategies to amplify your employee’s voices.
The Power of Employee Voice
How an open and honest culture drives employee experience and organisational performance