I am extremely passionate about employees being involved in business decisions. I believe that if you ask those who do the job to solve the problems – and then give them time to innovate and think of new ways of working – your people will bring a competitive advantage to your business.
Too often, leaders ask for views and feedback from employees, only to play lip service to it or discard it completely because their colleague’s opinion is wrong and clearly, they know better.
What is employee involvement?
Employee involvement is the direct participation of colleagues in activities that help the business achieve its goals.
What is to be gained by involving employees?
Trust and commitment: We all want to have people working for us who are committed to the overall objectives. Well, commitment comes with participation, discussion, and the ability to influence decisions. Someone who has had this opportunity is far more likely to be committed than someone who is simply told what to do. When your colleagues feel their opinions matter, you will create a place of trust – essential for a business to thrive.
Innovation and a better customer offering: Who knows your customer best? The people who talk to them every day on the front line will know what they like and what frustrates them. They will probably hear from customers what your competitors are doing and will almost certainly have great ideas about what needs to improve. Listen and involve them, don’t dictate. Give it a go, you will not be disappointed!
Improved retention: There is a war on talent, both in attracting and retaining it. The people in the roles you are recruiting for will know what is going to attract and retain the best. They will know how colleagues want to work, what’s important to them and what’s going to turn their heads away from your business. Knowing what your employees value most will mean you’re better equipped to fight the war!
Better decision making: It’s often said that two heads are better than one. Involving your people will mean you have a more rounded view of the facts and ensure you do not make decisions without considering your blind spots.
For me, involving employees in decision making makes more sense than not; there is lots to be gained and very little to be lost. There are many ways you can involve your people – innovation forums, employee forums and coffee and chat sessions to name a few.
As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, many businesses will be considering new ways of working and how they plan to set themselves up for the future. The current debate on ways of working should be informed by your people; now is the time to involve them in decision making.
If you feel you could benefit from greater employee involvement, get in touch and one of our experienced HR Directors can talk to you about the best ways to facilitate employee involvement and get the best out of these opportunities.
Claire Merton, People Director