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Building productivity: Employee voice

Employee-voice-child-page Acas has developed seven levers which provide a practical framework for workplaces to unlock their potential to be more productive. This page looks at employee voice.

Why is it so important to listen to employees?

Employee voice is about much more than giving employees the opportunity to have their say. It is about setting up channels for communication and arrangements for consultation that allows employees to be actively involved in decision-making.

When employee voice is not done right it can:

  • cause employees to seek other channels to express their feelings about work - for example, through personal social networking platforms
  • damage leadership integrity if a culture of 'us and them' is left to grow.

Genuine employee voice that has the backing of all levels of management will:

  • drive innovation and improve business outcomes by tapping into the creativity of individuals and teams
  • provide an early warning system for emerging problems, for example, if a new working pattern is damaging employee's work-life balance
  • increase employee commitment to their work
  • identify training needs and improve the use of skills.

What does an organisation that has got employee voice right look like?

  • Employees are involved in decision-making and managing change through effective communication and consultation.
  • Collective voice through trade unions or other workplace representative arrangements are facilitators of workplace consultation and negotiation.
  • Managers and leaders place as much emphasis on listening as talking. They seek views, take account on what they hear from employees, and communicate regularly about employees' contribution to driving the organisation forward.

Employee voice: Further Acas guidance and resources

  • Representation - advice on how employee representatives provide an additional channel for employees to communicate with managers, and vice versa.
  • Consulting with staff - guidance on involving and developing people in the organisation.
  • Employee ownership - advice on the benefits to business of giving employees a voice in the running of a business and a stake in its success.
  • Whistleblowing - guidance on how to blow the whistle about perceived wrong doings at work.
  • Employee engagement - resource on how to develop a happier, more motivated and more productive workforce.
  • Performance management - guidance on how a robust performance management system can increase efficiency and help encourage better relationships and communications.

Acas Productivity tool

Take the Acas self-diagnosis Productivity Tool test to understand your organisation's strengths and weaknesses, and to help you identify simple practical steps you can take to get the best out of your staff. The tool will produce a report with links to relevant Acas help and tools.

Find out more about the seven levers of workplace productivity

Well designed work | Skilled managersManaging conflict effectivelyClarity about rights and responsibilitiesFairnessStrong employee voice | High trust

Employee voice: Acas training and support for your business

Acas advisors can offer practical advice on how to keep your employees informed, how to introduce effective communication channels, and how to involve employees in ongoing decision making. We can also help to develop the optimum voice mechanism for your organisation, making the most of all available channels, from online platforms to face to face meetings through our range of practical Workshops, projects and business solutions.

Our support can be tailored to the specific needs of your organisation, your managers and your employees. For specific solutions visit Representation at work: how Acas can help or view our full range of Training Courses, Workshops and Projects or let us know how we can help through our Customer contact form.

Acas also schedule training events around Great Britain which help employers learn more about employee voice. View our full listing of Training events or click on event details below.