Why it Matters
Workforce engagement and voice is an important aspect of good employment. Employee voice is seen to have a central role in improving productivity, in tackling insecurity and in promoting the psychological well-being and job satisfaction of employees.
Voice has a central role in various employment charters. The Fair Work Convention in Scotland lists ‘effective voice’ as the first of five dimensions of fair work, and employee voice is also a key theme in the good employment criteria set out in charters in Wales and London.
Acas (2015) define employee voice as “providing information to people at work, enabling them to stay informed, have their say and be involved in the decision-making process. It is also about employers benefitting from the technical and tacit knowledge of their employees to improve productivity and contribute to innovation”.
Acas go on to differentiate between direct and indirect forms of employee voice, with direct means including one-to-one and team meetings, and indirect means including consultations with or full collective bargaining with recognised trade unions.
Key points raised through the development of this characteristic include:
• Approaches to this characteristic vary widely between small, medium and large organisations.
• Employers should provide a safe, effective and informed space for employee voice.
• Trust is vital and the employers needs to demonstrate that they react to employee feedback.
Supporters of the Charter are improving workplace engagement and voice with the following commitment:
"So that our staff can fully contribute to the direction and success of our organisation and shape their roles, with recognised trade unions facilitating the expression of the employees’ collective voice where possible, building effective employee engagement activity and with support from relevant professional bodies."
Charter members will be expected to provide evidence of a confident, empowered workforce creating an effective relationship between individuals, workforce and management where opinions can be safely heard and shared through:
- Involvement of employees in decision-making and managing change through effective communication and consultation.
- Placing as much emphasis on listening as talking.
- Employers actively seeking views, taking account of what they hear from employees, and communicating regularly about employees’ contribution to driving the organisation forward.
- Ensuring that managers at all levels are committed to employees having their say
- Genuinely considering employees’ views before decisions are taken
- Communicating and consulting with employees systematically and regularly
- Engaging positively with trade unions, including:
- Allowing access to the workplace by trade union organisers
- Making new staff aware of potential trade union membership
- Voluntarily recognising a trade union(s) where possible
- Providing adequate facilities and time for trade union duties, training and activities
- Not seek to derecognise a trade union(s) or dismantle collective bargaining machinery
- Implement collectively agreed terms and conditions
- Take part in collective bargaining arrangements where they exist
- Implement collectively agreed norms in the sector where possible
Help to Achieve It
Resources for improving workplace engagement and voice.
Acas is an independent, publicly-funded organisation that provides up-to-date information, independent advice, high quality training and works with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance.
As of a partner of the GM Good Employment Charter, Acas has provided a document outlining their resources available to employers including online guidance, open access training, in-company training, and in-depth advisory work across the seven characteristics of good employment.
CIPD is the professional body for experts in people at work, championing better work and working lives by setting professional standards for HR and people development, as well as driving positive change in the world of work.
Access resources from CIPD, including research and insights, guidance and fact sheets, as well as podcasts and other useful tools to help you understand and meet the seven good employment characteristics set out in the Charter for Greater Manchester.