More and more HR pros are discovering that one of the most effective ways to improve engagement, employee experience and organisational performance is to focus on employee voice.
That’s why Hive’s Lead People Scientist, Naomi Crozier, took employee voice as the focus of her recent talk at CIPD ACE (and received rave reviews). But don’t worry if you missed it—we’ve got a recording for you below…
The Power of Employee Voice
Download Naomi's presentation content from CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition 2021!
What is employee voice?
Employee voice covers pretty much everything your people express relating to themselves, their coworkers or the organisation that can influence decisions at work—either on a personal level or organisational level.
Why amplify employee voice?
On an individual level, when employees feel their voice is heard:
Then, on an organisational level, it helps leaders make meaningful decisions. Consider the “Iceberg of Ignorance”:
That’s 96% of problems that are hidden from senior management. So how can we expect them to make good decisions without those in the know helping out?
How do we amplify employee voice?
Rather than focusing on top-down comms, it’s about encouraging two-way conversation. Leaders need to truly listen, and to do that, they need to utilise a variety of channels to gather the insights they need.
Surveys, as usual, are the main suspects in any employee voice strategy; both pulse surveys and larger engagement surveys are a great means of gathering data at scale.
But your strategy doesn’t stop there. Listening needs to be continuous, so combine your surveys with additional channels such as always-on listening tools, focus groups and 1-2-1s for your strategy to really be effective.
The proof is in the pudding:
Building a culture of trust
It’s not just about providing the right channels; it’s about creating an organisational climate where people feel safe and encouraged to speak up and empowered to make suggestions and share ideas.
You can build trust through three key strategies:
- Internal communications: to create a culture of transparency and openness with your people, you need to be really open with them about what’s going on in the organisation and what decisions you’re taking. This will help you to bring your entire workforce on the journey with you, and build trust in what you’re doing.
- Leadership behaviours: you need your leaders to be authentically bought into hearing what people have to say, and using that insight to drive the decisions they make. And they need to be role-modelling this type of behaviour to embed it into your culture—behaviours like empathy, authenticity and active listening.
- Manager relationships: managers are in a very unique position to build trust, as they act as the gatekeepers of employee voice. They need to create a really safe space within their teams, and be comfortable and confident having more difficult conversations. What training and support can you offer to help them improve this?
But with the best will in the world, not everyone feels comfortable speaking up in person. Some topics can feel very sensitive to some, so you need to provide them with the opportunity to speak up confidentially. Thankfully, employee voice platforms (like Hive) are built around protecting employees’ identities.
People need to know that their voice is heard
The most important part of any employee voice strategy is action. Without acting on the feedback you receive, people will stop speaking up and will lose trust in the process.
So make sure to communicate what changes you’re driving and why. Even if you choose not to act on feedback, tell your people why. That way, they’ll know that you’re truly listening, even if you’re not able to drive those changes right now.
Employee voice matters now more than ever
The pandemic has given people a chance to reflect on and re-evaluate what they want from their lives and careers. As a result of this, you may well have heard people referring to a recent phenomenon “The Great Resignation” recently; organisations are seeing significantly higher levels of competition for attracting and retaining talent.
That’s why forward-thinking organisations are looking to understand how to create and offer a standout employee value proposition and one great way of understanding what really matters to your people is through employee voice.
Team Hive are on hand to help you build an employee voice strategy, backed up by People Science. Why not book a chat with the team to find out more?
Want to dive deeper into the game-changing world of employee voice? Our guide on the Power of Employee Voice is a great place to start. Download your copy now. 👇
The Power of Employee Voice
How an open and honest culture drives employee experience and organisational performance