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In today’s day and age, Employee Voice is all the rage. What is it, you ask? And why is it important?

Employee Voice is when you hear from your employees to unite the employees and the organization as a whole. For example, do your employees feel happy, safe, supported, comfortable, empowered? Do they feel that job expectations are clear, fair, consistent, with strong and constructive feedback, with career development and learning opportunities? Are they aligned on company goals and mission, and are they impassioned by these goals?

Understanding the voice of your employees is not only empowering to them, but also to you. To leverage that voice. To bring everyone on the same page, and to move forward together. To go into detail and answer all questions on this topic, from broad research that we have both conducted and lived, our Co-Founder Rob Catalano has authored the 2018 Ultimate Guide to Activating Employee Voice. Here are the highlights.

 

1. Introduction

The guide answers popular questions such as:

  • Is employee voice all hype? Is it really important?
  • How can I make the change to a better employee listening strategy?
  • How often should my company do this, and what should I even ask in surveys?
  • What are the benefits of doing this?
  • How can I get my executives to buy in?
  • Isn’t this going to be painful and add more work to HR?

 

2. The Evolution of Employee Voice

 

The Annual Survey method is outdated! Why?

  • It’s too infrequent
  • It’s expensive
  • It’s cumbersome
  • It’s inaccurate

Employee Pulse–a step up

As an employee, receiving an employee pulse is traditionally an easier experience than a long annual survey, however, there is still room to improve. One problem is that the employee pulse can be repetitive and impersonal, with similar questions every time or a predetermined rotation of questions. This can cause employees to feel like it’s a process on autopilot and leave them wondering if leadership is actually listening.

Why Active Listening Works so Well:

With this approach, employers are able to get a baseline for employees, trend survey results over a period of time, and then ask more tailored specific questions based on actively listening to the results of previous surveys. The key here is to create meaningful experiences and ensure employees know that you’re listening and that you care.

Remember: Employees don’t work in quarters and years, your Employee Voice must be more frequent. Think about how you interact with your customers… typically not once a year.

It’s about developing relationships through active listening, about nourishing and strengthening those employee-employer relationships, yearly, weekly, daily.

 

3. FIVE ways to improve your Employee Voice mindset and approach

  1. Begin to use Consumer Principles with your Employee Strategy

Most people have heard of NPS – Net Promoter Score, but here you can learn all about the magic of the eNPS – Employee Net Promotor Score.

  1. Leverage and Embrace New Technologies

  • Custom insight in real-time
  • True anonymity
  • Trending and Predictive Analytics
  • Serving the right Insights to the right people
  • Don’t start with Technology, but allow it to enable modern approaches
  • Technology and innovation isn’t going anywhere.
  1. Make sight of Insights, not Data

Tip: Use the “ART” of data when thinking about gaining insights. You need all three: 1) ABSOLUTE – real numbers; 2) RELATIVE – insight to compare within your business; and 3) TREND – see trends to identify what’s working and what isn’t.

  1. Be more Agile

As stated in an HRZone article: “Organizations and researchers alike are finding that the traditional model of the annual survey just isn’t providing actionable insights anymore.” Think about how quickly your company moves and changes. You need a frequent pulse on understanding what’s on the mind of employees – this ultimately improves engagement and performance.

  1. Leverage your secret weapons – your managers

  • Discover the 5 ways to leverage your secret weapon — your managers
  • Discover the 5 ways HR can help enable managers

 

4. Who cares? Why does Employee Voice even matter?

Adopting and amplifying the importance of Employee Voice within an organization supports a greater relationship with employees and the organization, boosts communication, and supports leaders.

Tip: You’re either building trust with employees or eroding it. There’s no in-between.

Real impact – FOUR Benefits to Activating Employee Voice

  1. It improves engagement, breeds alignment, and develops trust (and communication)
  2. It enables leaders and makes them accountable
  3. It offers actionable insights to HR and supports better people decisions.
  4. It eliminates a one-size-fits-all solution

 

5. Good luck selling this concept into my company

One of the challenges we keep hearing is that even with a sound approach and a belief that this is important, selling the concept in to executives is painful. At times it can be difficult to articulate why a sound Employee Voice strategy works, but here are four methods that we have seen prove successful in the past:

  1. Establish an employee first philosophy
  2. Asses what the company spends on customer technology versus employee technology
  3. HR also needs data to make decisions
  4. This isn’t just an HR strategy, it’s a People Strategy

 

6. You’re preaching to the converted. I’m sold! Where do I start?

WorkTango customers have supplemented or completely replaced the annual engagement survey for frequent Active Listening quarterly, monthly, bi-weekly, weekly or even ad-hoc for many reasons beyond engagement.

  1. Start with the right vision and definition of success
  2. Remember the types of Employee Voice
  3. It isn’t just about engagement surveys
  4. Get more frequent
  5. What are the right questions to ask?
  6. Anonymous or Not?
  7. Enable and involve Leaders
  8. Leverage technology

 

7. Conclusion

A new Employee Voice strategy supports a more organic approach to talent management that keeps the whole organization aligned and involved. It offers the ability for employees to offer feedback and deliver insights to not only HR, but all leaders in the organization to support the right actions. After all, understanding our employees is key. They conduct the daily behaviours that make the strategic direction companies envision a reality.

Get the full guide here!