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The pandemic has placed barriers on our typical communication techniques. And, more than ever, has raised the need for an organisational culture where people can voice their concerns, and make a difference. In September, we had a Supporters’ Network Event on employee voice – where we explored ways in which employers can integrate innovative ideas at the touch of a button, utilising virtual techniques of receiving employee feedback. We also explored the impact of the pandemic on employee voice and engagement – ensuring that it remains a priority during challenging times. This blog summarises the key points from the event, and collates a list of relevant resources and the full video recording.


The importance of employee voice and engagement

Employee voice has a central role in improving productivity, tackling insecurity, and promoting the psychological well-being and job satisfaction of employees. During the pandemic especially, capturing employee voice needs to be at the forefront of planning safe and comfortable return plans.

It is often expected that the voice of the employee is going to be something negative – about the raising of concerns that need to be dealt with by the HR Department. However, allowing more opportunities for your employees to have their say opens up the realm for suggestions, positive feedback, and small, day-to-day fixes that will only improve your organisation.

Celebrating the positive feedback, and working upon the negative will create a stronger organisation – where employees can have their say, and have it listened to.


How can we best gather employee feedback?

Understanding the importance of feedback is paramount, but how do we actually gather this feedback in a way that is inclusive, effective and practical?

In the past, most organisations have had annual surveys. Whilst often comprehensive – these annual surveys used in isolation have missing pieces. Not only do they fail to capture the day-to-day concerns of employees, but the volume of questions asked can lead to lethargy from the side of the employees, and too much data to engage with from the side of the employer.

Asking more frequent but more specific questions will allow organisations to support employees in lots of different ways – and allows a ‘temperature check’ at regular intervals so that, if needed, an organisation can resolve an issue before it has the time to worsen. Ensuring that feedback provided is done so in a way that is confidential and user friendly will encourage employees to be honest, and to provide the insights when asked.

Employees may respond better to different feedback techniques – online surveys may work for some, but one-on-one conversations may be preferred for others. Offering a few variations of feedback methods will ensure the greatest chances of a response.


How is it best to respond to employee feedback?

Once there is an appropriate system in place to gather feedback, it’s important that as much consideration is taken into acting upon that feedback. A “you said, we did” approach will mean that employees realise that action will be taken based upon their insights – truly making employee voice an integral part of an organisation.

And of course, sometimes the response has to be “we couldn’t, and this is why”. Not every single piece of feedback can be acted upon – but communicating to employees ‘why’ it couldn’t be done creates better understanding, and ensures the integrity of this process remains intact.

Not all feedback will require huge changes, but micro-level changes may still have a wide impact. This could lead into things such as equipment adjustments, the sharing of resources, implementing themed days (e.g. Wellbeing Wednesday), that aren’t costly but could make a big difference to employees.  

Developing an organisation where people feel that their opinions are respected, listened to, and acted upon, makes a vital difference to success, staff retention, and future recruitment. To achieve a stronger company culture, having this strong ‘employee voice’ framework is key.