Obtaining Management Buy-in for Engaging Employee Voice

Obtaining Management Buy-in for Engaging Employee Voice

Table of Contents

There’s no questioning the value of giving employees a voice, listening actively, and improving the work experience. You can see it. Listening to the voice of employees leads to higher employee engagement, which is highly correlated to profitability and retention in any organization. And you want it in yours. Except there’s one problem. You first need to convince the entire leadership team. The CEO. The executive team. Maybe even your own HR leader.

Arguments for Employee Voice

You’re devoted to the cause. But how do you inspire others to share in your passion for strengthening employee engagement? 

This may seem like a daunting task. Especially when you think of everyone’s crunching timelines and daily duties. But there are ways to propose the need for an engaging employee voice strategy so management sees it as a possibility and a priority. Your biggest hurdle is to help everyone understand what you’re proposing and why. 

What is Employee Voice?

This is a question you need to be prepared to answer when seeking management buy-in.  

Employee voice is a broad concept that has to do with employees communicating their views. What’s more, it’s about the influence their thoughts carry in your organization. After all, their daily interactions with customers, policies and processes are weighty insights that can guide major decisions. 

For example, as many people faced a ‘return to work’ in a hybrid workplace, listening to the voice of employees os more important than ever. Otherwise, losing talent to more flexible employee centric organization is a very real possibility. And no organization needs or wants to be dealing with an exodus of people on top of getting back to a semblance of business as usual. 

In the meantime, here are five solid and tested methods to help you sell the concept of employee voice to your organization. 

1. Establish an Employee-First Philosophy

Sometimes being blunt is best.  

Have a conversation directly with leadership to talk about the importance of employee voice.   

Express that while shareholder value and customer satisfaction are outcomes,the only thing the company really has direct control over is the people behind those results. Your employees. They’re the ones who design the products, the services, who interact with your customers and act as brand evangelists.  

Employees must be prioritized–above all else–because they’re the lifeblood and the future of the organization. 

2. Arm Yourself with Data

Engaged employees create happy customers which leads to enhanced shareholder value and overall profitability

Study after study links employee engagement to increased productivity, greater profitability and lower absenteeismGallup reports greater engagement led to  21% more profits and 41% lower absenteeism.

3. Asses What Your Organization Spends on Customer Versus Employee Technology

How much money are you spending on customer technology versus employee technology to achieve better customer value and better employee value?  You may be surprised by the disparity. And chances are, so will upper management. Remind your leaders that happy employees do great work. They’re also inclined to stay longer (and with concerns around retention, that’s a biggie these days). 

Build your case with helpful stats like these:  

  • 16% of annual salary for high-turnover, low-paying jobs (earning under $30,000 a year). For example, the cost to replace a $10/hour retail employee would be $3,328. 
  • 20% of annual salary for midrange positions (earning $30,000 to $50,000 a year). For example, the cost to replace a $40k manager would be $8,000. 
  • Up to 213% of annual salary for highly educated executive positions. For example, the cost to replace a $100k CEO is $213,000. 
  • Replacing disengaged employees cost US companies $550B a year.

Once you put real numbers into the equation, it becomes much easier to see, measure, assess, and persuade. 

4. Employee Data Makes for Better Decision-Making

Leadership is always asking you to use data to make better decisions. Now’s the time to show them how taking a more frequent pulse on employee voice will offer that data and insight. Not just once a year.  And not just for HR purposes. 

Your organization looks at financials and attends to customers more than once a year. So why not give the same attention to your most valuable asset? Your employees.  

How likely are they to recommend your organization to a friend or family member? (This question is one of the clearest indicators of engagement).  

Are they satisfied with the level of communication from management? 

Do they have all the tools needed to do their job well? 

How do scores vary by location? Job? Manager?  

How do these insights align with your organization or a department’s KPIs? 

When you’re able to measure and track correlations between engaged employees and higher profitability and success, you’ll also have information that will support predictions and business resultssomething of high value to leadership.

5. This Isn’t Just an HR Strategy, It’s a People Strategy

What your organization needs is a people strategy that aligns with long and short-term business strategies and goals.    

Supporting an active and ongoing employee voice strategy enables employees to thrive. And live out your organization’s vision.

When leaders are listening to (and acting on) employee voice, employees are more likely to recommend the organization to others. They’re apt to give more discretionary effort in their daily activitiesAnd essentially go above and beyond what’s required in their role, all for the benefit of the organization.

What to do Once You Get Buy-in for Employee Voice?

By addressingall of the above you can make a compelling case for activating employee voice. But that’s just the start. Once you’ve received buy-in and the green light from upper management there’s more work to be done.