IBM KenexaOn 23rd November 2016, Emenex welcomed 45 members of the movement Engage For Success to IBM’s South Bank Conference Centre to share ideas on one of the 4 Key Enablers of Employee Engagement – Employee VoiEFS-logoce.

Of the 4 Key Enablers identified by research conducted for E4S (Strategic Narrative, Engaging Managers, Employee Voice and Integrity), it is Employee Voice that is seeing the fastest level of innovation in response to the appetite of younger employees, Millennials in particular, to share their ideas on how to improve the working environment and performance of their organisations.

Recent research indicates that by the time these Millennials are 25 they will have worked in more organisations than their parents had in their whole careers.  No hanging about for these employees, They want intensive experience that will contribute to their ‘career web,’ preparing them for their next move.

In the final session of the morning seminar we asked participants to consider and discuss 4 key questions pertaining to their EV approach that will be the topic for further exploration over a series of blogs in the coming weeks.Employee Voice

Our first questions asked: What is your vision for EV in your organisation?

Three themes emerged:
1. The opportunity to elevate EV to a strategic issue
2. The intention to establish a more engagement focused culture
3. The need to act faster in response to gathering EV data

In my last blog I discussed the need for the HR community to highlight the cost of absenteeism and employee turnover within their organisations as a mechanism of freeing up budget to pay for the increased frequency of employee listening.  This is the critical first step in elevating EV to a strategic issue within the senior leadership team.

Seminar participants recognise that If EV is solely owned by the HR community and not by the senior leadership team it will never reach the strategic level of importance that it could and should play in the successful growth and development of the organisation.  So establishing the business case for investment is key.

This then opens up the opportunity to establish a pattern of more frequent employee conversations on a range of topics from those that you would expect to find in an annual Survey to a subset that you might ask for frequently and specific questions on topical issues specific to your organisation.

Of course more frequent conversations set the expectation that there will be insightful analysis and timely action to put new ideas to work.  Investment into EV does require a commitment to analyse, prioritise and act upon the data in a timely manner (2-3 weeks max), failure to do so will give the impression that the organisation is placating rather than truly tuning into the voice of the workforce.

The result is not only an improvement in innovation and creativity but also an improvement in overall employee engagement scores, leading to the ‘Holy Grail’ of employee engagement – increased discretionary contribution. It is this increase in discretionary contribution that offers the possibility of improved business metrics of revenue and profit.

The feedback from the participants was clear – establishing a clear vision and pathway to invest in more frequent employee conversations is high on the list of strategic initiatives.

In the coming weeks we will explore the themes from the other questions:
2. How will you measure the impact of this investment?
3. What are the barriers that will get in the way?
4. What actions will you take in 2017 to get this up and running?

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