The modern generation has bred a new and unusual workforce. In 2017, the ever-connected millennial expects to be an active influencer in every aspect of life. From reviewing products to circadian social media interactions with friends, the modern person has a voice, and they demand it to be heard. This notion has trickled into the workplace – employees want to be involved in top-level processes, and with just a click of a button. And if you don’t give them this opportunity, your employee satisfaction rates will plummet, not to mention, you’ll miss out on a valuable chance to learn from the fresh perspectives of others.
This post explores the reasoning behind giving employees a voice, the benefits of adopting this attitude, and some best practices that have proven successful.
Barriers to Employee Engagement
To be sure, engendering a workplace environment in which employees are comfortable and able to voice their opinions has several challenges. Even companies wishing to promote an open working culture find it exceedingly difficult to achieve this goal without a dedicated plan. Challenges many companies face include:
* Inefficient or insufficient employee feedback
Without proper motivation and a strong framework, employees are unlikely to offer feedback. Immature engagement tools and approaches lead to fragmented results or total non-compliance.
* Difficulties tracking/responding to comments
Even when employees do share ideas with managers, suggestions need to pass several gatekeepers before being implemented, frequently getting lost in the process. Current methods such as infrequent surveys, suggestion boxes, and even direct emails fall short because the process is time-consuming, bulky, and inaccurately reflects correlations between events within the workplace and employee reaction. Employees need a smart, efficient, and direct means for communication to upper-level management who can approve ideas.
* Lack of concrete steps resulting from communications
Having valuable ideas and knowing how to convert these into actionable steps for improvement and company/employee gain are two separate things. Without clear guidance and usable strategies/tools, companies will still lose out on this indispensable resource for innovation and company improvement.
Appreciating the concept but only partially embracing the methodology will lead to splintered results and inefficient solutions. The only way to effectively utilize the Voice of Employee wealth of intelligence is to use a digitally-tailored methodology.
Building on Previous Success
VoE initiatives have already successfully been implemented. Leaders can maximize their results/successes by learning from these methods that have already proven fruitful. In fact, a recent Towers Watson report showed companies that implement effective listening techniques are 2.5 times more successful financially than their peers who do not. Another study done by Cornell University saw businesses that used VoE platforms showed better results both operationally and financially. This has been proven across industries and regardless of business size. For example, this report showed that Voice of Employee programs at a small restaurant chain resulted in a 32% lower turnover rate (resulting in $1.6 million annual savings). Studies confirm that management must be behind the program, and that a well-implemented VoE platform will generate significant gains for any company.
Employees want to be involved in top-level processes, and if you don’t give them this opportunity, your employee satisfaction rates will plummet, not to mention, you’ll miss out on a valuable chance to learn from the fresh perspectives of others.
Building a Successful VoE Program
VoE programs make compelling arguments for their adoption. The next step is understanding how to implement these platforms using the right tools for success. A good VoE strategy should include:
- Metrics and measurements
A good strategy starts with concrete numbers to corroborate any plan forward, and the right technology must give companies the tools to calculate and measure such values.
Tools for converting customer feedback into actionable insight
Feedback is only as valuable as the actions that organizations are able to implement from those ideas. It’s not enough to simply be given the components and be expected to know how to put the entire project together. A proper VoE management system affords companies tools to build strategies and take concrete steps utilizing the generated ideas.
- Tracking Impact
Organizations must have means for measuring the success of their initiatives. Companies must be able to measure and monetize real-time results to evaluate their profit and see which are yielding results.
Benefits of VoE Platforms
The importance of giving employees a voice in matters of import cannot be overstated. Companies that fail to do so engender feelings of distrust, employee dissatisfaction, and an unwillingness to rally behind the overall business objective. Conversely, organizations that develop a strong VoE program experienced tremendous benefits including:
- Employee Information
Often businesses launch products that fail because they don’t take advantage of valuable employee information. Employees have an intimate knowledge of their product/business and firsthand experience with the customers, so they know the issues that need to be addressed. Businesses that listen to their employees glean invaluable information that can save costly product launches or brand failures.
- Increased collaboration and cooperation amongst departments and team members
With an active sharing infrastructure, various departments can benefit from others’ knowledge, improving overall workflow and output.
- Engagement begets engagement
By encouraging engagement via easy to use tools and platforms, companies see increased employee engagement going forward. The process naturally feeds the results, yielding greater communication, engagement, and follow-thru for even more positive future results.
How We Can Help Bring Your VoE Program Home
Overall employee engagement, job satisfaction, teamwork, and an innovation of culture are improved – these results cannot be achieved with a piecemeal approach, however. The only way to benefit from employee feedback is to implement a proper idea and innovation management platform, such as Qmarkets’ Q-max, which combines all the stages of idea generation, collection, analysis, and action planning into a single solution. This ensure that ideas are easily communicated organizationally so that businesses can maximize their employee experience and data, creating a beneficial action plan for yielding real, measurable results.
1. Jeffery Jolton, Ph.D., Nik Shah and Robert Tate. An HR Perspective, 2015 Employee Engagement Landscape Study: Championing Greatness or Capturing Mediocrity. London: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 2015. PDF.
2. Luminoso. “Employee Feedback and Artificial Intelligence, A guide to using AI to understand employee engagement“