The power of listening – employee voice in change communication

4 min read Written by: Chris Elias
The importance of employee voice in change communication

Ensuring that people in the organisation have a voice to engage with employees seems obvious. However, it can be surprising how many leaders shy away from hearing employee voices in times of change because they fear negative feedback. We’re human—it’s kind of natural not to want to ‘open the door’ to what we think will be an unpleasant barrage of feedback.  

They might envision a barrage of complaints and resistance. However, this fear can be counterproductive. When harnessed effectively, employee voice is a treasure trove of valuable insights and a key driver of successful change. 

Why is employee voice important? 

Here’s why incorporating employee voice is crucial: 

  • Informed Decisions: Employees on the ground floor have a unique perspective. Their insights can inform decisions about how the change will be implemented in their roles, leading to a smoother transition. 
  • Ownership and Commitment: When employees feel heard, and their voices are considered, they’re more likely to feel invested in the change and take ownership of its success. 
  • Reduced Resistance: Addressing concerns head-on minimises negativity and resistance. Creating a platform for open dialogue allows you to identify potential roadblocks and address them proactively. 
  • Trust and Respect: Open communication builds trust and respect between leadership and employees. Demonstrating that their voices matter fosters a sense of psychological safety and strengthens the working relationship. 
  • Diverse Solutions: Change often requires creative solutions. By tapping into your workforce’s diverse perspectives, you can uncover innovative solutions that might not have been considered otherwise. 

Practical examples of recording employees’ voices: 

So, how do you create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns? Here are a few strategies: 

  • Anonymous surveys and focus groups: These tools allow employees to provide honest feedback without fear of reprisal. 
  • Suggestion boxes and online feedback channels: Provide a safe and accessible platform for employees to submit ideas and concerns. 
  • Open communication during meetings: Encourage open dialogue during team meetings and town halls. Actively listen to employee questions and feedback. 

An example of employee voice in action: 

Imagine a company is implementing a new software system. Through employee surveys, they learn that some employees are apprehensive about learning a new platform. By incorporating employee feedback, the company develops a comprehensive training program that addresses specific concerns and ensures a smoother transition for everyone. 

Employee voice is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance change communication. By creating a culture of open communication and actively listening to your workforce, you can harness valuable insights, improve the change process, and ultimately increase your chances of success. 

In the final part of this series, we’ll explore the concept of organisational integrity and its role in building trust and fostering effective communication during change. 

If you’d like a chat about or need any support on any of what you’ve read, let me know – I’d be happy to share my thoughts. 

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