How to Make Employee Opinions Count at Work

How to Make Employee Opinions Count at Work
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Why Employee Opinions Count at Work
Finding top talent is not easy.  Even though companies count on new hires to make their growth plans happen, there never seems to be a deep enough or wide enough talent pipeline.  The disconnect between the supply and demand of top talent puts the engagement and retention of high performers to the top of the priority list for high growth companies.

Employee Opinions – A Key Factor of Engagement and Retention
An essential ingredient of employee engagement is a sense of being heard, seen, and valued.  When employees feel that their opinions count at work and believe that their voice is welcome, they are more likely to have higher levels of discretionary effort, loyalty, and advocacy.  They are also more likely to share their thoughts and opinions to create even higher levels of performance – for the people and for the business.

According to Gallup, only 1-in-4 employees strongly agree that their opinions count at work. That creates a wonderful opportunity for organizations looking to create more employee involvement, ownership, engagement.  When only 2-in-4 employees feel that their opinions count at work:

  • Turnover decreases 22%
  • Safety incidents reduce by 33%
  • Productivity increases by 10% increase in productivity.

The Benefits of Employee Feedback When Employee Opinions Matter
What can you learn from timely and honest feedback from employees?  Here are just a few problems you can uncover and address when employees feel that their opinions count at work:

  • Problems at the Executive Level
    Leaders may not always make the best decisions from the employees’ point of view. And leadership teams may not be operating in an easily detectable aligned or healthy manner.  But problems in the C-Suite can reverberate across an organization.

    If your executive team is not firing on all cylinders, your company is probably not performing at its peak.  Take advantage of what your employees see, feel, and know.  Not only will it help you and your company, but your employees will feel valued and part of making things better.

  • Problems at the Management Level
    Whole teams are at risk if they are working for a bad manager. Employees are unlikely to feel comfortable sharing their worries over an ineffective or toxic boss unless they are provided a safe forum to express themselves.  Not only can frequent feedback help uncover problems with team performance, but you can also learn who is at risk of leaving – either because they don’t feel appreciated or because they don’t feel they have sufficient career development.
  • Problems Within the Team
    Employee feedback can also help teams improve. Teams should be open to constructive feedback about their own performance.  High performing teams keep a pulse on team goals, roles, processes, decision-making, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Three Steps to Make Employee Opinions Count

  1. Actively Involve People
    If you want to uncover and solve problems to continuously improve employee engagement, create an environment where employee opinions count.  Actively involve people and consistently ask for feedback, take action, measure progress, and appreciate their input.

    If you have a good and trusting relationship with your employees, ask them what is working, what is not working, and what they recommend to make things better.

  2. Encourage Curiosity
    Blame, judgement, and criticism are toxic for engagement, innovation, and growth.  Encourage discovery, reflection, and continuous improvement if you want to truly hear what your employees have to say.
  3. Admit Mistakes
    Everyone makes mistakes.  When leaders admit to making a mistake, they create a safe environment for others to do the same.  Acknowledging mistakes leads to valuable feedback and makes it easier for people to discuss difficult issues, take calculated risks, and ask for help.

The Bottom Line
So how do you make employee feedback count?  You act upon it.  Your request for feedback should not be intended simply to satisfy your curiosity; it should provide the foundation for change and an action plan for improving the environment so employees feel heard and valued.

To learn more about how to make employee opinions count, download Tips to Increase Employee Engagement through Communication

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