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What Does It Mean To Give Every Staff Member A Voice?

Gone are the days of traditional top-down hierarchical leadership workplaces. Today, more and more businesses are beginning to understand the importance of company-wide employee involvement and collaboration.

To bring this valuable dynamic to the context of health and safety, you want every employee to provide their input on important HSE and risk prevention matters.

Here, we will explore what an employee voice entails and how to ensure that every staff member finds theirs. We will then consider some of the benefits you can expect from bringing this to the core of your organisational culture.

 

What Is An Employee Voice?

 

This concept is all about creating a space in which your employees feel comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns.

To achieve this, employees need to feel that they can speak up without the fear of negative repercussions.

Additionally, you want all ideas and concerns to be incorporated into management decisions wherever possible. That way, employees don't feel like they are sharing their opinions fruitlessly. When there is follow-through, they will see that their input is both heard and valued.

By following these practices, you create an open dialogue between the whole organisation. Ideas can then bounce off one another and end up as reasonable compromises.

Particularly in the context of health and safety, employees on the ground will have valuable practical experience that management might lack. By giving them a voice, you can use their practical experience to make informed management decisions. This will benefit the entire company.  

 

How To Give Every Staff Member A Voice

 
 
Foster two-way communication
 

There is no point in having a voice if there is no way to have actual dialogue. Thus your organisational structure should enable an ongoing conversation both horizontally and vertically. Let your employees participate in discussions that are important to them and that may affect their work. This will help you to understand what they value and what they think can be improved.

Employee involvement should ideally be met with feedback. Show how you took their ideas and suggestions into consideration so that they know their ideas don’t fall on deaf ears. 

Employee feedback on actionable insights is also extremely valuable. If you implement a new HSE strategy, the best way to gauge its success is to follow up with the employees on the ground.

Wherever possible, ensure that your managers are actively listening to their employee’s input. Leaders who practise active listening inspire employee involvement and foster employee cooperation.

Active listening involves:

  • Paying attention
  • Withholding judgement
  • Reflecting
  • Clarifying
  • Summarising
  • Sharing
 
Encourage participation
 

Feeling heard and communicating effectively is the first step towards encouraging participation. But you could also offer incentives to encourage employee involvement and give reluctant employees a nudge. 

Whenever an employee provides valuable, actionable insight, be sure to credit them for their input. Credit might entail simply giving credit to employees with helpful ideas or some sort of reward. Either way, recognising and rewarding feedback is the best way to encourage future input.

 
Foster transparency 
 

Once employees have provided their views, keep them in the loop throughout the implementation of their ideas. A continuous feedback loop will encourage employee involvement throughout the decision-making process.

Be transparent as to which of their ideas aren’t feasible and explain why this is the case. If you provide them with all the information behind your decisions, they will be able to see how their input, alongside other factors, contributed to the final outcome.

Transparency allows for employees to feel heard even when their ideas don’t or can’t provide actionable insight. As a result, they won’t be put off trying to participate again as they know you considered their input.

 

Benefits of Employee Involvement

 
 
Boosts Employee Performance
 

When employees feel heard and valued, it boosts morale, which is one of the most powerful motivators of improved performance. A survey conducted by Forbes in 2019, found that employees who felt heard were 4.6 times more encouraged to perform their best.

This adds up. If every employee feels heard, it will result in a massive productivity boost for your business.

 
Builds Trust
 

Open communication fosters strong, trusting relationships between employees. This helps to create an open and collaborative work culture where everyone respects each other.

At the end of the day, your organisational culture has a direct impact on your revenue. So, fostering an environment that gives everyone a voice isn’t just a nice idea, but a genuinely important business practice.

 
Improves Company Reputation
 

Giving employees a voice allows for important issues to come to the fore and find a resolution. This creates a more positive working environment for everyone. In turn, this increases employee retention.

Employees that don’t feel heard often air their grievances outside of work. This can damage your business’ reputation, particularly in the social media age.

Encourage your employees to be brand ambassadors rather than brand bashers. It’s usually as simple as listening to what they have to say.

 
Enables Business Adaptability
 

Employees on the ground are often most in tune with customer expectations and needs. They are regularly interacting with the product or service, so they are often the first to pick up on areas with room for improvement.

By encouraging employees to share their ideas, management can stay on top of important trends to continuously improve the business. You never know, Anne over at safety management might just be onto something that will help your brand stay competitively relevant.

 
Reduces Costs
 

This is not only due to boosted productivity. The valuable insights of employees on the ground can help to improve systems and operations, as well as products and services.

At the same time, you can also see cost reduction in terms of safety. Employees will feel encouraged to report any safety issues as soon as they notice them. This helps with risk prevention, which mitigates costs associated with incidents in the workplace.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Employees with a voice feel that their workspace is a safe environment where they can share their grievances, ideas and best practices.

By nurturing this kind of working environment, your business will enjoy boosted employee morale, brand reputation and business adaptability. This will lead to better productivity and employee retention, all of which can be seen in the bottom line.

Incy.io enables you to foster a culture where your employees will feel heard. It involves your staff in day-to-day HSE matters, and gives them the opportunity to express their opinions, concerns and ideas. Are you interested to hear more? Let's discuss this topic in a demo or start a 30-Day FREE Trial to see how it can help your organisation:

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We're a tech company with a passion for helping our customers adapt to the fast changing VUCA world. We're doing that by developing easy-to-use SaaS products that make gathering, managing and analysing field information as easy as possible for the end users. Remove gatekeepers, go horizontal and learn from your mistakes before they actually happen. More info at planbrothers.io

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Kaarle Parikka

Head of Marketing