Is employee silence killing your company?

Warning: employee silence reduces innovation and TCF compliance

When we will not speak up, or create opportunities for our employees to join the conversation, we end up limiting problem solving, innovation and opportunities for growth. An unwillingness to speak up happens in both personal and business relationships. Unfortunately this tendency to keep quiet to maintain the status quo leaves a lot of information unavailable from those who need to make tough decisions. It can be easier to say what we think the leadership wants to hear rather than raise challenging issues, expose deficiencies or shortfalls in the system. This is particularly damaging in a TCF organisation where our ability to satisfy customer confidence is based on our ability to acknowledge and fix mistakes. If we do not know where the issues are, they cannot be corrected.Invite employees to participate and increase innovation

Inviting your employees to have an effective voice can increase TCF compliance and innovation in our organisations.

The top 2 reasons for employee silence:

  1. Managers can find feedback and employee opinions challenging to hear, or as a challenge to their authority. Managers who are uncomfortable being challenged find it hard to share their plans with employees, and justify their decisions.
  2. The old style approaches to employee engagement and strategy management is to view engagement as something driven by the organisation, rather than co-created by both the organisation and the employees. Research now shows that a large part of engagement is based on the ideas brought to the table by employees, not something pushed on them.

key elements value and appreciate employee voiceA key element to building a TCF Culture of participation is ensuring that employees feel valued and part of the process. This includes involving them in the decision-making process. When employees contribute they are more likely to buy-in, and participate in finding innovative solutions. A 2011 UK Workplace Employment Relations Study showed a direct link between involvement and engagement. Less than 40% of the employees polled were satisfied with the amount of involvement they had in decision-making, and of those over 80% felt engaged and proud to be part of the organisation. Of the 60% dissatisfied with their level ability to participate in decision-making, less than 33% were proud of being part of their organisation. This difference demonstrates the significant impact participation can have in engagement.

The key elements of engagement at work based on Gallup’s Q12 questions:

  1. The Employee’s trust in management: Does the mission/purpose of my organization make me feel like my work is important?
  2. Work satisfaction: At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  3. Participation in decision making: At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  4. Relationship climate: Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person
  5. Satisfaction with pay
  6. Challenging work utilising skills: At work, do I have opportunities to learn and grow?
  7. A feeling of achievement: At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

One of the most influential elements across the board is and employee’s ability to rely on, or trust in management.  Both Gallup and Towers Watson cite having a voice as a critical element in employee engagement for today’s workforce. employee silence happens when they are not invited to participate

Employee silence is what happens when employees are not encouraged to participate in innovation and problem solving.

Key Towers Watson and Gallup findings on employee voice:

  • An unwillingness to speak up by employees reduces sustainable business success. Employee voice  increases engagement, produces more effective decision-making and helps drive innovation.
  • Employees having a voice has an impact on both cultural and organisational structures. Getting the culture right first is essential, followed by creating a process and channels through which employees can express opinions and participate in innovations.
  • Integrity, authenticity and trust are essential. Employees will only participate and share their thoughts when they feel safe and know their opinions are both valued and will be acted on.
  • Multiple channels are necessary to make employee voice a viable engagement factor, and these channels need to support both the individual and collective voice of employees.

End the hidden costs of employee silence by inviting your employees to have an effective voice


Specialising in helping you build a great place you want to work | Performance through humanity at work | Building Employee Engagement and Emotionally Intelligent teams | Treating Customers Fairly TCF Consulting, coaching and training

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