How to Fully Engage Employee Voices
In this current national climate, the voices of the people are being heard. Earlier this summer, in the wake of the social injustice against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others who lost their lives at the hands of those hired to protect and serve, people spoke out all over the planet. Not only were their voices heard, changes followed! We witnessed changes in how we view national holidays – Juneteenth is now a recognized holiday for many companies. We witnessed changes in sporting events with the elimination of the confederate flag at NASCAR and the addition of the Black National Anthem in major league football games. We witnessed proposals for changing laws in policing and criminal justice system This movement fueled corporate America as well as thousands of organizations to issue public statements condemning social injustice and discriminatory treatment of minorities, standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Wonderfully, many companies have moved beyond the statements to identifying action steps needed to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. As many companies continue to engage and create a diverse environment, the power of the employee’s voice cannot be overlooked. Employees need a platform where they are empowered and encouraged to speak. Therefore, companies must be focused on promoting diversity and inclusion, while reducing bias. Although this is no easy task, it can be accomplished with targeted and measurable planning.
Creating an environment that embraces diversity is great, however, it is not enough to just create an environment and leave it unattended. An unattended garden is likely to grow weeds and can adversely affect the other plants in the garden. Likewise, creating an environment that embraces diversity but does little to nothing to move the initiative forward, is likely to lose momentum and die. Companies must embrace this often-overlooked part of inclusion – the voice of the employee.
Companies thrive because of their employees. Innovation, creativity, processes, infrastructure, technology, are just a few of the contributions provided by employees. Employees are the lifelines of the company and are critical to survival and sustainability. If employees feel their voice does not matter to the company, they are less likely to contribute to the success of the company.
So, where do companies begin? To answer this question, you must ask another question – what do our employees need to be successful and feel valued? The answer can only come from the employees. Data is a necessary part of any company change because data can provide a great picture of where the company currently stands and allows for predictions and plans to be made around where the company wants to go. Gathering data from your employees through channels such as employee satisfaction surveys, town halls, focus groups, and virtual suggestion boxes, is a start. Any of these channels can be effective at hearing the voices of the employees. Of course, hearing the voices of the employees is not enough. Companies must turn their employee voices into ideas, strategies, and goals. Change must be the response to hearing employees.
Companies must move beyond providing just a seat at the table to allowing employees to speak and be heard. For some companies, this may be happening organically. Yet for others, there must be an intentional effort to move the needle forward. One thing is evident though – the time is now for companies to shift to an employee-centered approach for business to remain competitive.
For more information on Diversity and Inclusion Consulting and Training with Tracie Daniels at your place of work visit www.synergyconsults.com or call 800-706-1160.