Six questions to consider when capturing employee voice | Helen Moreton blog

Many organisations are experiencing a significant amount of change. Hearing employee voice, responding to this meaningfully and being influenced by this voice is becoming increasingly important.

This way of working is a key and fundamental principle of employee ownership (EO) that can and should be leveraged, and not just in times of adversity. It also ensures employees feel well informed, connected to their organisation, and able to contribute in a way that is meaningful and valued.

Data indicates EO businesses perform favourably when compared to other UK businesses on business performance and employee satisfaction measures.

I believe this is partly due to the commitment EO organisations make to hear and act upon voice, which in turn builds a more engaged and resilient workforce who are empowered to be part of the solution to whatever challenges the organisation might be facing.

There are different stages to representing voice effectively. Here I will share with you some questions to consider when capturing employee voice to ensure the right topics are on the agenda and employee voice is having the impact and influence it deserves.

  1. How does this align to the purpose and values of our organisation? This is a question to always ask ourselves. If you and your co-workers feel that something is taking place or decisions are being made that are not in the best interests of your organisation and its moral compass, then it is absolutely right that you would give your collective voice to this.
  2. Does it impact many employees? Employee voice is most powerful when we are able to join themes up across multiple people, teams and areas of an organisation. Good examples of this would be equality, diversity and inclusion, pay, benefits and working conditions.
  3. Is this question one for me to follow up? The power of employee voice comes through the majority of people voicing a similar or the same message. There will be other, more appropriate channels for employees that have an idea or issue that is theirs alone, such as their line manager or the HR/People Teams. Thriving employee voice does not replace these important channels, it works alongside them.
  4. What’s happening in my area, is there a theme or recurring issue? If an issue keeps cropping up and is not being resolved locally, collective employee voice can act as a safety net in capturing this, exploring the underlying issues, and escalating the matter further.
  5. What’s happening in society that impacts our organisation? Every organisation is impacted by what is happening in society which often then impacts employees directly. Good examples recently are the cost-of-living crisis, climate change and the pandemic. Giving voice to these societal issues is key to employees feeling heard and understood.
  6. Who do we need to speak to and who needs to speak to us? Employee voice representatives can ask questions of leadership and should be able to request information to help them understand better and shape their thinking. Alongside this, it serves leaders well to hear employee voice and let this insight shape and influence their thinking and plans.

An important point I’d like to make is that capturing employee voice is not about negative feedback or blame. It is right that there is a place to hear when things aren’t going quite right, but just as importantly employee voice is about hearing positive feedback and recognition, ideas and solutions. Those that represent employee voice have a wonderful right and responsibility to share employee voice in a way that is constructive and solution focused, which in turn influences positive change for employees and the organisation.

Helen Moreton, pictured, is course leader on the EOA’s ‘Representing and Developing Employee Voice’ course. To find out more about our September and November course dates or to book, click here>>

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