10 Tips to Setting up a Voice of the Employee (VoE) Program

Employee engagement happens to be one of the buzz words in today’s corporate world. But do people really understand what it means? I don’t know for sure but, one thing I know is that it is one of the most interesting yet tough to attain aspects in management. Organizations are definitely starting to realize the importance and need for a happier and engaged workplace with the rising number of millennials entering the workforce.

Well, It makes sense as to why there is so much hype about engaging employees at the workplace as according to the Bureau of National Affairs, US businesses lose $11 billion annually as a result of employee turnover. And Among the 1,500 employees, only 29% are fully engaged and 26% are disengaged. Almost half (45%) are partially engaged.

There are many aspects that make an organization successful. Cutting edge products and services, innovative strategies, new technologies etc but there is one thing that overpowers all of these factors and goes on to create long-lasting competitive advantage which in return impacts ROI. That is undoubtedly the employees of an organization. Employees are the heart of an organization and many research studies have proven that there is a direct positive correlation between organizational performance and engaged employees. As Andrew Carnegie very correctly pointed out “You must capture the heart of a supremely able man before his brain can do its best.” I personally like to define employee engagement as the emotional commitment an employee has towards their organization and its goals.

There are tons of ways in which an organization can engage their employees, but it’s important to find the right techniques which go in line with your organizational culture.

Here are 10 tips that may help engage your employees better, this is based on the Ten C’s model of employee engagement by Gerard H. Seijts and Dan Crim.  

  1. Connect

Connect with your employees. When managerial relationships are fractured then no amount of perks will persuade employees to perform at top levels. Employee engagement is a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss. One of the most meaningful ways to connect to a person is to listen and empathize! That goes a long way from my experience. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say but at least ensure them that you understand and have their back.

  1. Career

Nobody likes a stagnant career. Providing employees with challenging and meaningful work is essential. Organizations must provide job rotation for their top talent and assign stretch goals. Are people accountable for progress? Are jobs enriched in duties and responsibilities?. Challenge employees but at the same time instill the confidence that the challenges can be met.

  1. Clarity

Communication of a clear vision. Employees want to understand the vision that the leadership has for the organization and the goals that leaders have for the team.  Especially, if your business is at the initial stages this communication becomes essential. People need to understand what part they will play in the plan/strategy to meet the goals.

  1. Convey

It’s hard for employees to give their all if they don’t have a clear idea of where the business is going or what the overall goals are. Share your vision with the whole company and ensure that even the smallest cog in the wheel knows why it’s turning and how its contribution can help.

  1. Congratulate

Ensure that your feedback is just as noticeable when it’s good as when it’s bad. A timely acknowledgment of a job well done can be a huge boost to staff morale – never forget that recognition is something most employees crave over and above other perks. Positive reinforcement and catching folks doing it the right way is 10 x better at influencing a repeat vs. catching folks doing it wrong and correcting. Also, positive reinforcement should happen genuinely, It’s been noticed that just to get an employee to perform in the desired manner organization tend to positively reinforce them, However, employees are smart, they know when the management is being genuine and not, so that is something to look out for.

  1. Contribute

Employees what to know if their contribution actually means something to the organization. People want to know that their input matters and that they are contributing to the organization’s success in a meaningful way. Employees’ understanding the connection between their work and the strategic objectives of the company has a positive impact on job performance. Good leaders help people see and feel how they are contributing to the organization’s success and future.

  1. Control

Employees value control over the flow and pace of their jobs. Leaders can create opportunities for employees to exercise this control. It is important to consult employees with regard to their needs.

Key questions that need to be asked,

  • Does the management involve employees in decision making especially when the decision will have a direct impact on them?
  • Do employees have a say in setting goals or milestones that are deemed important?
  • Are employees able to voice their ideas?
  1. Collaborate

Studies show that when employees work in teams and have the trust and cooperation of their team members, they outperform individuals and teams which lack good relationships. Great leaders are team builders. They create an environment that fosters trust and collaboration.

  1. Credibility

Employees want to be proud of their jobs, their performance, and their organization. That is not possible in an unethical organization. Just one poor judgment call can cause years of damage to your credibility. People look and judge you for what you do…not what you say! Furthermore, transparency of the management plays a key role here. It’s always best to be open about any situation be it good or bad rather than shoving it under the carpet.

  1. Confidence

Good leaders help create confidence in a company by being role models for high ethical and performance standards. In the face of errors and upsets, good leaders keep their focus and encourage. Good leaders calm and direct their team back on course. What better way to demonstrate the importance of safety than to live it 24-7 on/off work. Living safety as a core value is commitment/confidence!