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The value of employee voice in generating engagement

We have long recognised the value of Employee Engagement in our organisation and have been relatively successful in achieving it. However clients often ask us how do we ACTUALLY do it? It sounds relatively straight forward but actually generating the conditions to allow it to flourish are quite challenging - a key one is to give your employees a voice in the company so that they feel able to contribute in its running and hence feel engaged in its success.

For those who aren't familiar with our heritage, we emerged out of British Leyland, who were renowned for their terrible employee relations. We had traditionally bad relations with trade unions but now they are found in very few of our sites, and what few examples there are can normally be attributed to where we have made an acquisition of TUPE agreement.

Instead we give our employees a voice in our company. One way is through employee forums, which operate at site and business unit level, where employees work side by side with leaders in the management of the company.

Tomorrows Company has been looking at how companies give employees a voice and its role in generating employee engagement. Their recent report focuses on "how organisations help their employees to speak up, the conditions that have to be in place for voice to flourish, and the contribution it can make to business success."

The report concludes that for employee voice to work effectively "organisations need to ensure they both get the culture and behaviours right, and put in place the structures and processes for employees to express voice". We have spent over 20 years developing processes which enable us to involve our employees and these are woven into our entire operating model - what we refer to as 'The Unipart Way'.

The Unipart Way: performance improvement that sustains

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