What is voice? Is it another word we all use, but with different meanings? Is it something which we understand on a personal level but would not know how to measure on a wider level? And when we speak about hearing employees’ voices and empowering the voice-less - what, and who, do we mean...
Research: How companies measure and report ‘employee voice’
Our latest research explored how 220 of the world’s largest companies are setting targets against planetary boundaries and social thresholds. One of these thresholds is ‘voice’, which in many ways lies at the heart of the 9 boundaries and 11 thresholds. In considering ‘voice', the research particularly focused on employee voice. Informed by insight from our practitioner interviews, this was felt to be a key area which companies could impact. Further, with new requirements for companies to report against topics such as slavery (e.g. UK Government Modern Slavery Act) and with increasing attention on topics such as employee diversity (e.g. Gender Parity Gap), corporations around the world are facing the challenge of hearing the ‘voice’ of employees in their supply chains.
Based on publicly available information, we found limited evidence for how companies have developed KPIs / measurement systems or targets for employee voice. Where targets were identified, they typically focussed on compliance with human rights and considered quantitative assessments of employee engagement. For instance, identified targets/metrics included:
As we look ahead to 2017, the challenge is to develop new tools to engage and empower employees. This challenge is further complicated by the increasingly online and digital world. On one hand, supply chains are becoming ever more remote, yet the rise in mobile communication tools provides innovative new ways for collecting feedback and building global dialogue. What is clear from the research is the increasing importance for organisations to listen and understand the voices of their stakeholders. Not just the 'loud' voices, but also the voices of those traditionally under-represented.
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