Table of Contents
Employee voice is an approach by which the employees within an organisation give their perceptions on the organisational issues along with employment to the employer. It is one of the most effective ways through which the employees can influence the matter, which affects them at the working environment. On the other hand, employer voice also enables the employers to contribute towards enhancement of productivity, performance and innovation. With respect to the employees, it helps improving job satisfaction. In addition, it also facilitates in providing better opportunities for individual development (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2017). Employee engagement has become an essential and core constituent in the management lexicon within the companies. It has been often observed that there is a direct relationship between the engagement and employee voice. Furthermore, the employees within an organisation are significantly encouraged within the employment relationship to demonstrate optimistic behaviours and attitudes (Rees et.al., 2013).
A specific characteristic of employee voice which encompasses personal views of the employees is related to improving the overall performance of the work group. This includes mediating trusts in both the senior level management along with employee-line management (Rees et.al., 2013). In this context, employment is viewed as an important component, which is needed for the success of an organisation. Engaging with the employees in a company is often considered as an attachment towards their organisation. Therefore, engaged employees of a company are found to work for a longer period of time. In the present era, employ engagement is of utmost significance, as it affects the turnover levels of the company along with increasing the productivity. Engaged employees within the organisation are often regarded as the backbone of the positive working environment (Robertson-Smith & Markwick, 2009). The objective of the study is to evaluate the relationship between employee voice and engagement. In addition, the study also argues the notion propounded by certain commentators that there is a crisis of employee voice within the UK workplaces.
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Relationship between Employee Voice and Engagement
The companies view their employees as a solution for various issues prevailing within the organisation. The employees are mostly allowed to take part in giving their perceptions and views on the problems faced by them in the working environment. It further allows the workers to share their knowledge and experience with the management. Employee voice enables the employers to communicate with the worker in different ways to make sure that every voice in the organisation is properly heard (Engage for Success, 2016). It is essential for the company to communicate openly regarding the goals of the business, priorities, challenges and objectives with their employees. This helps the employer to generate feedback of the workers. Thus, the responses of the employees are considered as the voice (Towers Watson, 2014).
On the other hand, employee engagement refers to the degree of commitment along with the involvement of the workers towards the company and its values. An employee, who is engaged to the company, is aware regarding the business environment. In addition, these employees also work along with the colleagues for enhancing the performance of the business. Engagement is defined as the process that helps in controlling the employees with respect to their work roles. It is therefore, essential for the organisations to develop and foster employee engagement and thus it needs two-way relationship between the employer and workers. In other words, employee engagement is considered to be the barometer that assists in determining the connection of an individual with the company. Employee engagement is closely linked with existing job involvement. A committed and engaged employee considers the job to be the most essential part of his/her life. There are three aspects with respect to employee engagement within the company. These include the experience of the employees along with their psychological makeup. The second aspect is the employers’ capability to develop conditions that help in promoting employee engagement. The third feature is the communication between the employees of the company at all levels (Vazirani, 2007).
Employee engagement is essential for the company managers to develop in situations when the employees depict a lack of motivation and dedication towards the company. The ability of the company with respect to managing the engagement of employees is related to its potential to attain high level of performance. There are various advantages that can be derived from engaged employees, which include better performance of the workers, who stays in company on a long-term basis. It further helps in developing commitment and passion in alignment with the strategies of the company (Vazirani, 2007).
In the present global business perspective, management needs to integrate employee voice, while describing the job. Hence, it can be included in employees’ job profile. In this changing and growing business world, the development of employee voice is of utmost significance for developing economic growth. Voice is often regarded as the base for success of the company, as it enhances employee engagement, which in turn helps in making proper decision and is also responsible for encouraging innovation. Voice of the employees in a company is required in both structure and culture. Thus, it is essential for the company to have right culture. Subsequently, it is followed by providing the channels with the help of which employee voice is expressed (Newcombe, 2012). It has been observed that the employee voice helps in strengthening engagement of the workers. This enables the company to improve organisational performance. Thus, employee voice refers to the ability of the company workers to contribute an input in the overall decision making process. The employee voice is therefore viewed as an essential factor for employee engagement towards the company (Kular et.al., 2008).
Employee voice is viewed as an enabler of employee engagement. It has been observed that the voice is the feedback provided by the workers on a particular issue. In an organisation, the viewpoint of the employees is often heard or listened and it ensures that their opinions do make a difference in the overall activities of the business. Therefore, a strong listening capability enhances business activities, which is enabled mostly by developing effective communication. Voice is not only viewed as the feedback provided by the employees, but it also allows the employers to actively motivate the employees to speak up and give their viewpoints on a particular issue. It also facilitates in differentiating individual and group voice. These are both essential for the process of employee engagement in the company (Dromey, 2014a).
Employee voice in an organisation helps in trusting the employees for developing solutions along with implementing them for overcoming the company issues, which in turn assists in encouraging employee management. Thus, employee voice is regarded as an important aspect in enhancing the engagement of the workers within the company. The employer of an organisation offer the employees with opportunities for getting involved in the decision making process through active participation. It also enables interaction between the top level managers and employees of the company. Therefore, providing opportunities for the process of employee engagement require effective communication among the employees, especially between the leaders of the company and frontline employees. Employee voice enables the employer to ensure that the most effective employees are utilised in an efficient way, which promotes business development. The employees of the company seeking for opportunity are likely to be content with positive behaviours and attitudes towards their performance (The Open University, 2016).
Trust is an essential aspect with respect to all the occupations, which is mostly followed by job satisfaction along with participation in making of the decisions within the workplace. This is often referred as employ voice and is the most basic factor that helps in employee engagement. Not every employee in an organisation is engaged, but the ones who are fully committed towards the company perform highly. An empowered and effective employee can come up with effective solutions to deal with varied prevailing issues within the workplace and can assist the management likewise. It enables the employees to speak out when needed, which helps in making difference in a company’s decisions and performances. The company in order to achieve effective employee engagement should significantly focus on enhancing employee engagement (Acas, 2012). An effective employee voice is also considered as one of the four major pillars of engaging the workers towards the company. Correspondingly, the management mostly focuses on seeking the individual views of employees that helps in making plans and choices for the business operations to be conducted (Purcell, 2014).
Employee voice is closely related to organisational engagement within the company. The foundation of employee voice mostly relies on the information among individuals regardless of their position in the management level. Employee voice is therefore helpful in utilising the ability of the employees to render positive outcomes for enhancing the decision making process within the organisation. Thus, employee voice helps in managing change in the company. On the other hand, employee engagement asserts the employees to have an active role. The company observes engagement as a factor which is likely to act as an open behaviour of the employees. The company with the involvement of feedback gathered from the employees engages them to work for achieving success in the market. Engagement enables the employees within an organisation to have a sense of being involved that motivates them to be committed towards their job (Purcell, 2014).
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Employee engagement has been growing over the years and is viewed as one of the priorities of the employer. A positive attitude of the employees towards the company along with its values with respect to the business enhances the overall performance that in turn assists in benefiting the organisation in the long run. Therefore, it is essential for the workers to cultivate engagement between the employees and the employer. With the support of voice, the workers of the company can raise their concerns that exist within the working environment. This helps in improving the overall business activities of the organisation. Hence, it can be inferred that employee voice is essential for engaging the workers for achieving success (Dromey, 2014b).
The first aspect of employee voice is raising concerns, which is also regarded as an essential constituent for engaging the workers. Enabling the employees of an organisation to elevate concerns helps in disclosing the matter freely within the employee environment. The second aspect related to employee voice is offering suggestions for better enhancement and is one of the most vital aspects for employee engagement and innovation within the company. In this context, the workers of the organisation will be empowered for providing better outcomes to the company. Therefore, the frontline employees of the company play a vital role in delivering better services towards their customers. The employer allowing the employees to express their ideas and perceptions can in turn enable the staff to provide necessary and vital information. Furthermore, it also acts as a significant source of innovation. The third and final aspect of employee voice is involving employees in the process of organisational decision-making. The importance of this aspect is that it enables to engage workers in making essential decisions, which enhances the performance of the business activities. Therefore, the relationship between the employee voice and engagement plays a significant role in maintaining the overall business operations of the company (Dromey, 2014b).
Employee Voice Within British Workplaces
Employee voice is defined as the way of communication, which allows the employees to exchange their views regarding the organisational issues prevailing within a company. This is mostly done on an individual basis or simply through the use collective process. It is further viewed as the process of solving upward problems. Correspondingly, employee voice provides employees with the opportunities to give their feedbacks on a particular issue (Wilkinson et.al., 2008). Over the years, it has been observed that a lack of employee voice in British companies may have acted as a differentiating factor to reduce productivity within the nation (Welfare, 2016). Employee voice has been replaced by non-union direct voices in the private sector of Britain. Over the years, significant changes have been made with respect to employee voice in the British private segment. Contextually, voice management is defined as a combination of union as well as non-union voice. Therefore, with respect to the British companies, voice can be segregated in two types, which are representative and direct voice (Gomez et.al., 2009).
In the last decade, the notion of employee voice is used by companies, who are either seeking for high level of performance or are seeking a better system with respect to employee representation. The European Directive, regarding the employee information and consultation has focused on improving employee voice. With respect to Ireland, the country has significantly focused on using centralised corporatist model for ensuring partnership and participation between the social partners. On the other hand, the UK has focused on using more decentralised consultative trajectory. It has been observed that the definition of voice, which has been given by the managers, is more focused on the process instead of concentrating on the outcomes. In the British companies, voice has been viewed as the informal component in the daily operations. The employees in the companies have been unable to express their views for reasons such as a lack of confidence or beliefs (ARAN, 2017).
Over the years, employee voice in British workplaces is mostly associated with the trade unions. The core idea of employee voice is intrinsic inequity of power between the employers and employees to be more efficient (Johnstone & Ackers, 2015). Nonetheless, it has been determined that British workplaces have been facing employee voice crisis. This is mostly due to a lack of confidence in the employees. Therefore, it forms the most significant factor that has led to voice crisis within British companies (Dundon et.al., 2008). The employees working in companies have been found to be unable to express their views on organisational matters, which has affected the overall performance of the company as well.
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The British companies have shown a lack of voice due to deficiency of language related skills.. It has been observed that the global standing of Britain in the context of business and diplomatic aspect is at great risk owing to a lack of proper skills in both male and female individuals (Boffey, 2013). In addition, the human resource department and line managers of the company are mostly accountable for upholding their respective organisations. It helps in ensuring engagement of the employees in the company. However, it has often been observed that they lack faith and confidence in the employer. Furthermore, the employees within the companies also have trust issue with the line managers. The HR professionals along with managers in Britain have been struggling to replicate positive attitude towards their organisations. According to a recent study, only 37% of the employees were found to agree that their organisations to have attractive employers (Lobel, 2016).
Another reason for the low rate of employee voice in British workplaces is due to a lack of motivation in the employees’ part, as they do not find career progression prospects. The happiness of the employees working in a company does not only depend on the payment he/she earns towing to which the company lacks employees’ voice. Thus, the deficiency of feedback from the workers side is responsible for low level of employee engagement. Hence, it can be inferred that a lack of voice affects the success of the business (Lobel, 2016). A lack of employee voice in the organisation also arises due to a lack of communication between employer and the employees. Maintaining two-way communication with the employees is a vital factor to make the employees feel that they are valued which in turn can encourage them to raise their voices in different crucial instances. On the other hand, a lack of proper flow of information can affect the overall performance of the business. Therefore, the effectiveness of direct employee voice is also affected by a company’s managers’ outlook, who at times lack the ability or willingness to listen to the workers’ perspective (Bryson et.al., 2006).
Therefore, the crisis of employee voice in an organisation is a result of a lack of employee confidence and faith. In addition, ineffective communication between the senior level management and the frontline employees is responsible for the apparent crisis of employee voice in the British workplaces. The employees in some cases also fail to express themselves with respect to the organisational issues prevailing within the company environment. The unwillingness of the workers to participate in giving feedback also gives rise to insufficient employee voice in the organisation.
The employee voice is also deemed to be muted due to a prevailing imbalance amid employees work and life along with family-friendly working. This reason also significantly contributes towards weak employee voice mostly in the bigger organisations. On the other hand, with respect to smaller businesses, employees at times are viewed to concentrate on negotiating flexible working environment. In large organisations, the scant amount of employee voice which is still prevalent is generally rested upon profound support of trade unions and staff associations. The small and medium enterprises lack collective expressions but yet direct communication is found between the employer and the employees. It has been observed that individuals consulting for informal arrangements with the company managers in small along with medium sized organisations are primarily focused upon managing their individual situations. Not all the employees in an organisation have powerful voice for maintaining employee engagement (Summers & Hyman, 2005).
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Employee voice and engagement in an organisation are essential for achieving success. On the basis of the theoretical understanding, it can be inferred that the employee voice helps the employer to collect information and feedback regarding the issues that are faced by the company. Thus, based on the perceptions and views of the employees, the company can take right decisions to overcome the prevailing issues. Furthermore, employee voice is also responsible for engaging the employees towards the company. Employee engagement is highly dependent on the voice of the workers. Besides, employee voice enables the employees to give strong viewpoints, which in turn facilitates in decision-making within the company. It has also been observed that the employee voice is responsible for raising concerns, which aids in understanding the organisational issues lingering within the workplaces. It also helps in providing better suggestions to overcome the issues and involves the employees in the overall decision-making process.
With respect to the crisis of employee voice in British workplaces, they lack significant knowledge in achieving success for the organisation. Similarly, employees in the British workplaces are determined to lack adequate confidence to speak up on any issue. In addition, the employees do not express their perceptions to the management. Correlating the scenario prevailing in the British workplaces with the theoretical comprehension, it can be inferred that a lack of confidence along with failing to express themselves on the organisational issues are the key reasons for low level of employee voice. Furthermore, ineffective communication amid the employees and the managers has also resulted in a crisis of employee voice within British workplaces.
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