Valuing what employees have to say can create a more powerful, productive workplace. By giving people a voice, you’re giving them an opportunity to share their ideas with you – and if you listen and implement those ideas, they can improve not only workplace satisfaction, but seriously boost your bottom line.
1. Employees who have voices are more focused on their work
When people know that their opinions are valued and heard, they tend to work harder. Their performance improves because their job satisfaction rises. And since they’re more satisfied, they’re more likely to be engaged at work, so they’re more likely to remain loyal to their companies. And that translates into higher profits for your company.
2. Employees who have voices trust management
Allowing employees to talk openly displays a level of trust which enables them to feel more valued and more connected to the leaders of an organization – as well as to other employees. As author Stephen M.R. Covey wrote in his book The Speed of Trust, “The first job of a leader—at work or at home—is to inspire trust. It’s to bring out the best in people by entrusting them with meaningful stewardships, and to create an environment in which high-trust interaction inspires creativity and possibility.”
3. Companies with no employee voices miss out on knowledge sharing
The sharing of information helps people connect and form communities of interest, thus helping to generate new knowledge. It also helps people identify others with similar interests and passions and form useful relationships with these other individuals. Ideally, employee voices should extend across the whole company, with every employee able to raise relevant issues with the C-suite as easily as with the person working beside them.
4. Positive internal voices encourage positive external voices
Encouraging people to speak productively internally is a prerequisite to ensuring that they speak positively about their company externally. Conversations, both positive and negative, about your company, are already happening all over social media, especially on ratings sites such as Glassdoor. Knowing that your employees are going to talk about your organization and their experiences externally, it’s vital that you encourage them to talk internally first. When negative employee communication occurs internally, steps may be taken to reduce employee discontent by engaging with these employees, listening to them, and taking appropriate action to improve things, before they take their dissatisfaction outside.
5. Employees who have voices help shape corporate culture and values
When a company’s people talk freely about their desires and experiences, and when management listens and implements their most productive and innovative ideas, the entire corporate culture undergoes a series of incremental shifts. This ongoing conversation is also closely linked to an organization’s values. By understanding what employees are talking about, and identifying which values are referred to most, pinpoints which values are the strongest or the weakest in the organization. This gives a company a better basis for taking action to eventually correct the course on which the organization has embarked.
When employees are given a voice, they respond by giving their companies the gift of self-knowledge. Not to accept this gift would be foolhardy.