Increasingly employees want to be heard in the workplace, and it goes deeper than simply having someone listen, note their ideas and opinions, and move on. Employees want their leaders to act on what they’re hearing from employees.
It seems many companies are starting to pay attention. Last year, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology listed “capturing the employee voice” as the No. 7 workplace trend.
If you’re skeptical, don’t be so quick to assume this is just another fad not worth your time. In fact, leadership expert Keith Martino believes that giving employees a voice leads to more engagement, and with Gallup reporting that 87% of employees worldwide are NOT engaged at work, it’s wise to consider any ideas that could re-engage your workforce. Here’s how giving employees a voice benefits your business, according to Martino:
- You discover hidden talent. When you invite new ideas from employees who were buried deep in the organizational chart, you introduce fresh perspectives and new solutions. People who once felt they had no say can work to their full potential and make a huge difference in improving the organization.
- Morale improves. Attitude, mood, camaraderie, and teamwork all improve when everyone feels valued. “Employees love working in an environment where everyone is really listened to and their ideas matter,” says Martino.”
- People are more energized and productive. “When employees start feeling heard – seeing ideas implemented, and knowing they have real input – it encourages buy-in and even more effort, so productivity goes up,” Martino explains. Ultimately, employees feel that their efforts are making an actual difference, and that motivates them to try harder.
- Solutions come faster. When employees feel empowered to tell the truth, provide negative feedback and point out problems – without repercussions – you can work together to solve problems more quickly and efficiently. On the contrary, when employees feel they will be ignored or even punished for speaking up, issues go unresolved and problems are often hidden.
- Leaders emerge. When everyone is empowered, a funny thing happens. Confidence and competency increase, and with that you will see natural leaders emerge. Since succession planning is vital for the success of every organization, you can begin to identify the future leaders within your organization and groom them to take the reins.
Martino adds: “Companies are constantly striving to please their customers, but the same vital attention needs to be given to their strongest asset: their employees. When employees are given a voice, it makes all the difference, building trust, bringing a higher level of performance, and leading to success for all.”
Keith Martino is head of CMI, a global consultancy founded in 1999 that customizes leadership and sales development initiatives. Martino is the author of Expect Leadership, a series of four leadership books – The Executive Edition, in Business, in Engineering, and in Technology. He has also published three sales handbooks, Get Results, Results Now, and Selling to Americans. After more than 20 years and numerous awards at FedEx, Xerox and Baxter Healthcare, Martino and his team provide world-class counsel and proven web-based tools that produce consistent results. He has been the keynote speaker at business development conferences for Xerox, Bass Pro Shops, New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, the American Banking Association, Baker-Hughes, Shell Oil, RadioShack, Schlumberger, and others.