Employees typically like to feel as though they matter and their decisions impact the actions their organizations take. During major corporate change, leadership and culture can be shaken up dramatically, and as a result, previous levels of perceived employee impact (“I make a difference”) might not remain intact. What benefits does an organization reap if employees feel they have a voice, and how is this impacted through the change process? The current article (Farndale et al., 2011) attempts to answer these questions.
WHEN EMPLOYEES FEEL VALUED
The researchers found that when employees perceive themselves as having impact on organizational decisions, they show higher levels of organizational commitment. This sense of voice is inferred through relationships with line managers and, to an even stronger extent, with senior management. Employees were found to react positively to organizational change when their perception of having voice was not compromised during this often tumultuous period. As such, employees should be made to feel as though their inputs to the organization are valued, as are their thoughts and feelings. In this way, organizations can influence workers to be more dedicated, at seemingly little cost.
It is clear from this study that not only do managers need to hear out the opinions of their employees, but senior leadership should ensure that lower-level employees are given a chance to express their concerns and opinions in such a way that garners results. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, such as having line managers serve as ambassadors, as the authors suggest, or by holding “town hall” style meetings, allowing employees to provide suggestions with immediate response from leadership. By giving employees the opportunity to have their voices heard, an organization can gain a workforce that is trustworthy, committed, and hard-working.
Farndale, E., Van Ruiten, J., Kelliher, C., & Hope-Hailey, V. (2011). The influence of perceived employee voice on organizational commitment: An exchange perspective. Human Resource Management, 50(1), 113-129.