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Speak up, I’m not listening

22 Feb 2013 - Blog

Speak up, I’m not listening


The latest CIPD Employee Outlook report finds record low levels of employee engagement in the winter of 2012/2013, attributing much of this to a deterioration in employee voice, particularly in the public sector.

Whilst I would take the ‘record low’ analysis with a pinch of salt (other surveys will report engagement steadying, or even increasing over the same period), there is no doubt that actual deteriorations in employee voice will impact significantly on engagement, especially when organisations are in the midst of major change, as so many in the public sector are. It’s common sense isn’t it (if not common practice) – if you want to change what people are doing, who they are doing it with, or the environment in which they work….. then ask them for their ideas on what will work and what won’t (and demonstrably listen to what they say)…..

As a reminder the CIPD says:

  • Employees will be much more likely to speak up if they receive recognition when their ideas or concerns are acted on and are given feedback when they are not.
  • Some employees are more likely to speak up than others, so employers should consider building in opportunities for employee voice as part of formal performance reviews as well as informal one-to-ones with managers, meetings and knowledge sharing forums.
  • A combination of both direct arrangements for informing and consulting with staff, such as through line managers, and indirect mechanisms, such as staff councils or forums, are the most effective way of providing employee voice in organisations.
  • Organisation values and leadership and management development activities should highlight the importance of employee voice.

The full press release and links to the research paper are here:

Tom Debenham


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