Why Organizations Need To Embrace Employee Voice
Today’s organizations have been able to adapt, and adopt, the following practices:
- Agile Process
- Virtual Workforce
Yet by and large, many organizations still have not adopted the most important need – embracing each employee’s voice.
When an organization wants to adapt to the changing times, they need to put their ears to the ground.
However, many companies and many leaders resist that, thinking that their superior knowledge (after all they’re the upper level leaders, right?), the focus groups, and the people furthest removed from the front line and the customer knows best. Unfortunately that could not be further form the actual truth.
In support of this assertion, a Gallup study showed that the following are needed to be recognized and completely adopted for true and effective change to occur:
- Every employee gets signals from their work environment — where the opportunities and barriers are, which risks they can take and which they can’t, who to go to for help and who to avoid.
- Individual contributor-level employees have the closest view of procedures and processes.
- If the signals workers receive tell them to go slow and deal with obstacles, agility is probably in trouble.
- Leaders need to create the conditions of an agile culture, including:
- Trial Tolerance
- Knowledge Sharing
- The simplest method for creating an agile culture is clearing away obstacles.
- Get rid of stupid rules and low-value activities and time wasters that diminish employee value and engagement.
- Silos should be dismantled to facilitate communication and collaboration.
- Allow employees to speak up about poor practices.
- Create a culture in which employees challenge more senior people about things like poor meeting culture, unclear assignments, over-analysis, etc.
- Ensure there are no repercussions, ramifications or retaliatory behaviors from leaders to ensure employees can give their input.
A well-designed review — one that includes stakeholders of all ranks — can identify obstacles to creating a real agile culture and show leaders how to clear them.
By giving employees a truly open voice, and not just the voice of the top performers or favorites, and also creating the cultural mechanisms to ensure that voice is heard and acted upon, a leader and a company can start to find themselves embracing the need to change and adapt to what the marketplace suggests.
Technology and process alone cannot do that. Only the organization with the right kind of leadership that wants to move forward and embrace the new workplace, not the old tired hierarchy that typically holds back otherwise valuable employees form helping move their company forward.
Employee voice matters, not just in the HR realm, but in the real world of business as well. Commitment to your people as your best and most valuable asset will enable growth across all levels.