Being a good listener is something we all struggle with. How often have you inadvertently tuned out of a conversation with your partner while they talk about work or family frustrations? You glance down at your phone, allowing your thoughts to stray... and although you may not think so, your partner is aware of it. When we lose eye contact in a conversation, we’re giving the impression that we don't care and that there is something more important on our minds. And so, the conversation ends.
The same is true of your employees’ experience in the workplace. When they don’t feel heard, respected, or valued they become disengaged and stop expecting anything meaningful from their employer. As with every healthy relationship, the employee experience (EX) should be rooted in continuous, open, and authentic dialogue between both parties.
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Voice of the Employee (VOE) is central to collecting feedback, measuring impact, and understanding the collective perspectives, opinions, and feelings of employees. VOE should not be a once-off survey or an annual performance review. To really hear what your people have to say, you need to empower them with opportunities to express their thoughts and ideas as part of an ongoing conversation.
WIIFM (What’s in it for me/us?)
A well-executed listening strategy not only boosts morale and engagement, but also enhances productivity and reduces turnover, with these benefits:
- Employee engagement and retention
When employees feel that their voices matter, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. This, in turn, leads to higher retention rates and reduced turnover.
- Innovation and problem-solving
Employees who are encouraged to voice their opinions often come up with innovative solutions to workplace challenges. They can identify areas for improvement that might otherwise go unnoticed.
- Morale and well-being
Creating an open and supportive dialogue can significantly boost employee morale and well-being. It helps employees feel acknowledged and valued, contributing to a positive work environment.
- Personal growth and development
Through VOE, employees can communicate their career aspirations, skill development needs, and challenges. This feedback enables people practitioners to align individual growth with organisational goals.
- Business growth
VOE can uncover valuable insights for improving products, services, and processes, leading to increased customer satisfaction and business growth.
Gathering employee feedback
To fully experience the benefits of VOE in your organisation, you should be implementing a range of strategies for gathering employee feedback. Consider these mechanisms for creating feedback loops and dynamic dialogue with your people:
- Surveys and questionnaires
Regular surveys can help gauge employee sentiment on various topics, from work satisfaction to the effectiveness of internal communication. Don’t overdo it though to avoid ‘survey fatigue’.
- Anonymous feedback channels
Providing employees with the option to submit feedback anonymously can encourage honest and candid responses.
- One-on-one conversations
Regular check-ins with managers and HR can facilitate more personalised discussions, allowing for deeper insights.
- Focus groups
These provide a forum for in-depth discussions, encouraging employees to share their perspectives and concerns.
- Technology and apps
Use technology to streamline the feedback process, making it more convenient for employees to voice their opinions.
- Stay interviews and exit interviews
Stay interviews are great for finding out what people enjoy about their EX and what they would change. Exit interviews are also invaluable in identifying areas for improvement.
- Pulse surveys
Short, frequent surveys can capture real-time data on specific issues, allowing for agile responses and immediate action.
Measuring the impact and value of VOE
Metrics are not only about collecting data. They reflect the essence of all employee interactions, feelings, and goals. To measure the impact and value of your company’s VOE efforts, consider implementing these strategies:
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs should be used to measure employees’ growth, not only their worth. Assess the impact of VOE initiatives by tracking engagement, satisfaction, and productivity in KPIs to create an environment where continuous improvement is valued over perfection.
Compare your company’s VOE results to industry benchmarks to understand where you stand and identify areas for improvement.
- Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)
eNPS measures employee loyalty and willingness to recommend your brand or company as a great place to work.
- Feedback action plans
It’s vital to implement feedback action plans to address issues raised by employees. Regularly track progress and improvements.
- Continuous feedback loop
Ensure that feedback doesn't end with data collection but is incorporated into an ongoing dialogue between management and their people.
- Employee well-being metrics
Consider measuring stress levels, work-life balance, and other well-being indicators to understand the impact of your EX efforts on employee health and happiness.
- 360-degree feedback
Ask for feedback on employees from their managers, peers, and subordinates to gain a comprehensive view of an individual's performance.
The way your voice is heard
These interactions and conversations are not only important for giving your people a voice. They also offer a variety of ways to be heard – creating a more inclusive and well-rounded listening strategy. Ultimately, a thriving workplace is one where employees are seen not only as workers, but also as contributors to business success.
You should be continually gathering employee feedback to maintain “eye contact” with your people as part of an ongoing culture of conversation. Use VOE as a channel to become that attentive partner who hears, values, and transforms feedback into meaningful change.
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