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Date posted: 20th February 2019

20th February 2019

The role of Employee Voice in great workplaces

The role of Employee Voice in great workplaces

On the 7th February in partnership with Masgroves we hosted our first event in North Wales: Stop. Look. Listen. The role of Employee Voice in great workplaces in the fabulous Moneypenny office space with over 50 people!


Attendees heard:

  • Anecdotes, success stories and the many ways Moneypenny actively listen and involve their people from co-founder Rachel Clacher.
  • How new technologies are dramatically changing the way we communicate from Catrin Lewis of Reward Gateway
  • The science of true listening and how we translate this into work from Rob Robson of 8 Connect
  • A case study on how to capture and use employee voice during times of change from Ruth Dance of The EEA
  • 7 wacky ways to listen from our partners Stuart Thomas and Tony Cosgrove from Masgroves.

But if you missed it, here are my key learnings from the wonderfully learning packed, inspirational day.

Why is harnessing employee voice important in building a fantastic workplace?

In the Sideways 6 survey, ‘State of Employee Ideas 2018’  82% of employees revealed they believe they have ideas to improve business. However, 18% are too afraid to voice them 34% don’t feel their companies value their ideas. Ultimately increased employee voice means enhanced productivity and good engagement leads to increased employee voice.

Moneypenny are proof that if you invest in your employees and make them feel valued, they invest in your clients and your company grows. Spend the money that you have on experiences that make your employees love where they work, you’ll slash recruitment costs and improve growth. For example – Rachel believes that just as everyone has their favourite spot on their sofa at home, so should everyone feel at home at work. Rachel gives each employee £15 to spend on a desk lamp personal to them and allows them to make their desks completely their own.

In fact the entire organisation is set by all the people.. the building was built how they wanted it from the car parking, the quiet areas through to the lighting and ventilation – they used the voice of their people to literally design the entire building and everything within it.

 How to go about it:

1. Make sure you are really listening to your employees regardless of size

Throughout its growth Moneypenny has always had its employees at heart and it really shows. Although it was perhaps easier to listen when the company was only a handful of people, Rachel and her team have ensured that as the company has grown they continue to listen through various ways.

2. Pulse/ engagement platforms:

Using pulse surveys and engagement platforms are helpful ways of getting feedback from lots of people very quickly. When Moneypenny moved into their new building they asked employees through engagement platforms what they really wanted. Employees stated they wanted:

  1. Calm quiet working spaces
  2. Car parks
  3. Social Spaces
  4. Natural light

Using a platform got them quick feedback that they could deliver to ensure their employees know they are being listened to.

3. Face to Face with Leadership:

Rachel also committed to having lunch with every single team in the organisation to ask for their feedback making every employee feel valued and listened to.
Ruth Dance, our MD spoke about her past at News UK and getting the CEO at the time out to one of their call centres to sit with the frontline.

“Getting leadership involved with the heart of the business can be a huge driver to improving overall culture and listening.”

4. Through Managers:

Not every company will be able to have C-suite leadership commit to having lunch with every employee but that doesn’t mean you can’t effectively listen. Managers are a powerful source of information. Ensuring good management structure will get you honest and tangible feedback which leads me onto my next point…

5. Ensure good management

Rob Robson highlighted that managers can be incredibly powerful if they are given autonomy. They have the ability to respond immediately to feedback and make changes instantly so employees know their voice is being heard. This comes back to the issue of unnecessary processes and barriers. Remove barriers and enable teams and line managers to be able to fix issues at the source.

Managers are essential not only for the support and wellbeing of your employees but also to ensure good business performance. Moneypenny ensures that every 4-5 people have a team leader and every 4-5 teams have a team manager. The structure not only allows you to understand if there is anyone underperforming but also allows you to be able to offer the right support and training for each person.

6. Ask the right questions

As Rob explained, you need to be careful about the questions you ask. If you ask people how they feel, they will most likely tell you things you can’t fix. It’s important not to shut off emotional talks but when you’re asking for feedback make sure to ask practical questions that will lead to implementable changes. Rachel used these exact principles in her lunches with all the Moneypenny teams. She asked each team:

  1. “What would make life better for you”
  2. “What would make life better for your clients”

She discovered that employees were not happy about policies around Christmas holidays. That year Moneypenny changed the policy and their sickness fell by over half. She estimated that making this simple change has enabled Moneypenny to gain an extra thousand days of work because they took the time to ask their people the right questions.

7. Communicate well

Communicating well with employees means you need to communicate in a number of different ways. Catrin Lewis, Head of Global Engagement and Internal Communications at Reward Gateway showed that using a collaborative employee to employee messaging system like Slack led to fewer meetings and more conversations which solidified relationships within the business. Utilising Slack has enabled even remote workers to feel connected and score extremely highly on inclusivity because they are able to see everything that is going on through the various Slack channels.

8. A good culture is one where it’s ok to make mistakes

It’s imperative that employees feel supported in everything they do at work – even when they make mistakes! Be clear with your team that you put your best into everything you do but that its ok if you get things wrong. Mistakes are opportunities to engage as long as you communicate well.

Practical tips to take NOW:

Our partners at Masgroves, Stuart Thomas and Tony Cosgrove outlined 7 practical ways to listen that are easy to implement and can help you make instant improvements. Here are my top 5.

  1. Do it somewhere different.
    Through a simple change of location Masgroves helped a client improve one leader’s engagement score by 30% – one activity being to deliver exactly the same communications at the pub!  Sometimes you have the right messages just not the right locations.
  2. Do something memorable
    If you want your messages to stick do something that makes them memorable. Stick your leaders in orange t-shirts handing out cupcakes – stand out from the crowd and make it something to remember.
  3. Go for a bimble (a semi- purposeful walk)
    Sometimes it’s as simple as making a purposeful effort to walk up to someone for a chat and giving it a name. Seems simple, but it’s a concept that saved one UK organisation £5k just by having a quick face to face conversation that highlighted major inefficiencies.
  4. Pizza slice
    Take a slice of people across the organisation based on a topic to get proper feedback. Just trailing or seeking feedback from the same department each time isn’t going to give you a view of what’s really going on.
  5. Be willing to have difficult conversations
    This one speaks for itself but is essential when making effective changes and improvements

As always, the event was followed with networking, drinks and a few nibbles (well a cheeseboard to be more precise!) plus the option to tour the Moneypenny office and see exactly how their culture story comes to life – including the village pub and treehouse!

Thanks to speakers, Rachel Clacher, Catrin Lewis, Rob Robson, Moneypenny for having us, and of course our partners Stuart Thomas and Tony Cosgrove from Masgroves.