blog feature image what is employee voice and why is it important

What is Employee Voice & Why is it Important? The Hive Guide

What is Employee Voice & Why is it Important? The Hive Guide

If your employees don’t have a voice, they’re not going to engage with their work, feel like they’re part of a tight-knit team, or have much loyalty to your organisation.

Giving your people a say in how things are done changes everything. It’s the first step in building a happy, engaged, and productive team – and it’s like pouring rocket fuel on your organisational performance.

In this short guide, we’ll show you exactly what employee voice is and why it should be near the top of your organisation’s list of priorities. Want to hear straight from our experts too? Check out the video below of our Head of Sales here at Hive, Donna Petrie, who explains what employee voice is and why it’s important in 5 minutes.

What is employee voice?

Employee voice covers pretty much everything your people express relating to themselves, their colleagues or the organisation that can influence decisions at work—either on a personal level or organisational level. So that could be an answer to a survey question, a concern raised in a 1-2-1, an idea in a suggestions box, a positive feedback email, or anything else that fits the description.

But amplifying employee voice isn’t a cuddly HR ideal; it’s a hard-edged agenda that directly targets the blind spots to efficiency and performance. By making it a priority, leaders get more high-quality information at the earliest opportunity to make better, data-driven decisions.

When an employee has a voice, they feel like:

  • Their voice is heard – and listened to.
  • They can express their honest opinions at work without fear of repercussions.
  • Their organisation takes an active interest in what they have to say.
  • They have a real say in how things get done.

Why amplify employee voice?

The importance of employee voice can’t be understated. Without it, every employee engagement or wellbeing initiative you roll out is going to struggle to gain traction.

Here are a few research-backed reasons to give every one of your employees a say in how things are done within your organisation:

1. Employee retention

Everyone wants to feel like they’re making a difference. That their opinion matters, that their leaders and peers are interested in what they have to say, and that they have some say in what they spend their days doing. So, it’s hardly a surprise that companies that give their people a voice – and listen to what they have to say – are 12X more likely to retain them.

retain employees

2. Employee engagement

Your people are going to seriously struggle to find any fulfilment from their work if they’re expected to turn up to the office every day and do as they’re told. 

Which is why employee voice and engagement are two of a kind. In fact, 74% of people feel more engaged at work when they feel like they have a voice.

Listening to your people is an essential step for any organisation looking to improve employee engagement.

74 feel more engaged with voice

3. Innovation

Organisations that give their people a strong voice are…

innovate effectively

And it’s not hard to imagine why. The more people you can get working on a problem, the more life experiences and perspectives you’ll be bringing to the table, and the more likely you are to end up with solutions your leadership team would never have come up with on their own.

4. Belonging

Show an employee you care about what they have to say and you’re showing them they don’t have to hide who they are when they come to work.

Which is why organisations that give their people a voice and act on their feedback are…

inspire sense of belonging

And when people feel like they belong, employee wellbeing goes through the roof. 

5. Customer satisfaction

Happy customers are the cornerstone of any successful organisation. And businesses that empower their employees with a strong voice are...

retain cuastomers

The fact is: Your employees are a lot more likely to make sure every customer receives a five-star service if they feel like they work for a business that looks out for them. Give your people a voice and they’ll go the extra mile.

How to amplify employee voice

Every employee has their own opinions about what their organisation could be doing better. The most successful organisations empower their people with the tools to pass these opinions up the chain of command effectively as possible.

Some of the most effective tools for amplifying employee voice are:

  • Employee surveys make gathering employee feedback quick and easy.
  • Hive Messenger lets you dig deeper into the feedback you get from surveys, close the feedback loop, and show your people that you’re really listening.
  • Always-on listening empowers your people to have their say on what matters to them, even when you’re not running a survey.
Open Door
  • One-to-one meetings are the perfect opportunity for line managers to encourage their reports to open up about anything that’s on their minds.

Psychological safety: The secret to success

Of course, empowering your employees with tools they can use to quickly and easily share their feedback is only half the battle. For your people to truly have a voice, they need to feel like they can speak their minds without the fear of repercussions – even if they feel like they need to speak an uncomfortable truth.

If employees think there might be repercussions for saying what needs to be said – or that the feedback they give is going to fall on deaf ideas – they’re unlikely to truly speak their mind, no matter how many surveys you run.

Establish a company culture that leaves every one of your employees feeling safe to speak their mind and you’ll start to see the power of employee voice

psychological safety

Your organisation’s leaders and managers need to set the example here. They need to think carefully about the effect their body language, tone of voice, and choice of words have on their people. 

Your organisation’s structure plays a big part here as well. While it’s unrealistic for most organisations to adopt a completely flat structure where everyone gets an equal say in things, a strict hierarchy is a huge barrier to people speaking their minds. Even if your organisation has a strict corporate structure on paper, every employee should have a say in things that directly affect them if you’re serious about employee voice.

Last but not least, leaders and managers need to be able to set their egos aside and take their people’s feedback on board, even when it stings. Inviting your employees to have their say and then taking their feedback badly is a surefire way of making sure they never feel comfortable voicing their opinion again – and eroding the trust they have in you.

Taking the first step

Giving your people a strong voice is the first step in boosting employee wellbeing and engagement across your organisation. If your people don’t feel heard – and you don’t know how they feel or what they want – your HR initiatives are all doomed to fail.

Empowering your people with the tools they need to have their say in how things are done and the psychological safety that comes from knowing their employer truly cares about their opinion can transform your organisation.

Grab your copy of The Power of Employee Voice today to discover exactly how giving your people a say can boost your organisation’s performance.

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