Many employees feel management is deaf when it comes to hearing their concerns and considering their ideas. Don’t they? Apparently, yes. You bet that they do. That has to change in order for your company to be really successful.
“Employee voice” in the workforce has become a catchphrase in human resource departments as companies see the benefits of opening their ears to their employees. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology last year listed “capturing the employee voice” as the No. 7 workplace trend.
Research ties in employee voice, among several factors, with employee engagement. A Gallup poll revealed that more than half of U.S. employees were “not engaged.” I think giving employees a voice leads to more engagement on multiple levels – and more successful companies.
When we provide employees with access to the corporate microphone, the music can be instantaneous and breathtaking. Companies are constantly striving to please their customers, but the same vital attention needs to be given to their strongest asset, the employees.
When employees are given a voice, it makes all the difference, building trust, bringing a higher level of performance, and leading to success for all.
I suggest five ways that giving employees a voice benefits a business:
Discovers hidden talent. People who were buried deep in the organizational chart bring solutions with their fresh perspective and broadened roles. Once viewed as disengaged, they are seen in a new light, now fully utilized and helping the company to prosper. By inviting more ideas, you’ve opened up a new world for your organization.
Increases camaraderie, enhances culture. The mood shoots up when everyone suddenly feels more valued by being heard. You will be pleasantly surprised by the smiling faces and camaraderie that return to your employee base. Employees love working in an environment where everyone is really listened to and their ideas matter.
Energizes, drives productivity. A happier, more appreciated work culture leads to a more energized workforce. When employees start feeling heard – seeing ideas implemented, and knowing they have real input – it encourages buy-in and even more effort, so productivity goes up.
Diagnoses, clarifies. Getting to the source of problems means getting to the truth, and without repercussions in telling it. This clears obstacles. And by bouncing ideas off others, hearing their concerns and perspectives, you stay true to company goals and improve the company’s way of getting there.
Identifies future leaders. Empowering everyone by giving them a voice inspires confidence, allowing leaders to emerge. Some may not initially see themselves that way, but they will be self-evident by the clarity of their reasoning and the courage of their convictions. Good management unlocks potential, empowers it, and here is another example of that.
The results of this dramatically improved communication between employer and employee are immediate and lasting. The relationship is enhanced in multiple, measurable ways.
About The Author
Keith Martino is head of CMI, a global consultancy founded in 1999 that customizes leadership and sales development initiatives. Martino is the author of Expect Leadership, a series of four leadership books – The Executive Edition, in Business, in Engineeering, and in Technology. He has also published three sales handbooks, Get Results, Results Now, and Selling to Americans. After more than 20 years and numerous awards at FedEx, Xerox and Baxter Healthcare, Martino and his team provide world-class counsel and proven web-based tools that produce consistent results.