Your employees have a voice. What are they saying and why does it matter?

16 December 2019

Many of us wouldn’t think twice about leaving a review for a product or service, and we often take note of the views of others before making key spending decisions. Whether your hard earned cash is spent on a new smart television or a dream holiday, you would likely check the ‘star rating’ before making a final decision.

In the same way, the emergence of sites such as Glassdoor and the new employer review capabilities of recruitment site Indeed, employees can now rate their employer just as easily as their weekend B&B. If former employees are taking time to write reviews, you can be just as sure that potential recruits are reading them.

Are you confident of being rated as a great employer?

Giving your employees a voice has long been considered to be an invaluable part of a good HR strategy. It is important to understand employees views, opinions, concerns and suggestions and it is just as important that the information gained is used to influence workplace decisions. Employee voice goes further than simply asking for the views of your employees. It describes active involvement and participation, recognising the importance of employee ideas and contributions. Forums for this tends to be face to face and very interactive, led by employees and often providing them with access to senior leaders in the business. 

The ACAS productivity framework recommends seven levers for workplaces to unlock their potential to be more productive. Employee voice is one of these seven and is becoming increasingly important to both employers and employees alike. 

Matthew Taylor, author of Good work: the Taylor review of modern working practices, suggests that ‘Employee voice isn’t just a warm and cuddly agenda – it’s a hard-edged agenda about making sure your company is productive and innovative.’ This is an important message for managers who may equate employee voice with trade union representatives. Employee voice, as with any new initiative, requires management ‘buy in’.

It is a culture shift for many organisations but with many potential benefits. 

  • Improved communication, often a challenge!
  • Improved processes, efficiencies and productivity, a move from ‘it’s always been done that way’. 
  • Generates a learning culture, great for continuous improvement.
  • More innovative approach to ideas, better informed problem solving.
  • Better informed employees, greater level of customer service.
  • Greater employee motivation, happier people.
  • Happier employees, great for supporting good mental health.
  • Better employee engagement, working to a common goal.
  • Better employee retention, employees stay for longer.

Companies invest a lot of time, effort and money in recruiting the right employees, why not ensure they also harness the knowledge and experience they bring. Companies can potentially reap the benefit, and employees are often more engaged because of it.  

Employees will likely stay with you for longer, and when they do decide it is time to move on, your company is more likely to receive that sought after 5-star review.

Conversely if employees do not feel listened to, engaged at work and without a channel to speak freely they potentially could take to forums and platforms to voice their concerns in the external world. For help defining how HR can play a key role in helping businesses to harness employee voice effectively, please contact Kerri Constable or Laura Cerasale.