Gaining the voice of your team and all your people is just one part of employee engagement. It’s wrapped up in my other preoccupations of leadership, culture and values. So I want to explore it a little more in this blog and hear what it is for you too.
Most of us now recognise that our people are our greatest asset and to stifle their voices would be to the detriment of everyone. They know best what’s going on, what’s motivating our customers and what it’s like to work here. As CEO founder I’m the last person to talk objectively about any of this. Moreover, I enjoy their voice.
As a micro enterprise we’ve no time or money for fancy consultants telling us about 360 stuff or to write an engagement strategy. So it’s down to me to reflect, write blogs and get on with it.
You may now know that I’m obsessed with ‘what works’. Time is too finite to shoot in the dark. So without the fancy strategy, how do we capture what works so that when we grow we can take it with us?
For now though, let’s start with the ‘what’.
Employee voice is definitely not sterile staff surveys or suggestion boxes. These don’t get anyone excited or engaged. We’re not likely to be unionised any time soon either!
From thoughtful listening conversations over the morning coffee, to meaningful supervision and a place to park ideas or share innovations (Trello for us) – these all form a part of employee voice.
Sometimes you’re doing it already! For my part, I need to get better at feeding back where their voice has made a difference or altered what we do.
In addition, I want it to be more meaningful. I want their input into our strategic direction, recruitment and other important decisions.
There is a balance however. They are very busy and I often choose not to ‘burden’ them with additional things to think about. You’ll be unsurprised to hear that whenever I do it’s hugely worthwhile and they always think of an angle or view I hadn’t considered.
Why do we do it? Because having employee voice means a workplace culture of engagement and trust. This means people are safer (can whistleblow) and more motivated and productive too.
And who is responsible? All of us. It comes back to values and recruiting people who want to be a part of this culture.
So we’ve no consultants for a fancy strategy, but maybe I’ve more understanding of ‘what works’ than I first thought.