This factsheet was last updated in September 2011.
What is employee voice?
Employee voice is the two way communication between employer and employee. It is the process of the employer communicating to the employee as well as receiving and listening to communication from the employee.
The factsheet should be read in conjunction with our factsheet on employee communication, which goes into greater detail on particular techniques of communication, both downward and two-way.
The two subjects clearly have a lot in common. However the concept of employee voice focuses more on opportunities for employees to be involved in decisions collectively, whether through trade unions or by other means. It appeals both to those seeking greater business efficiency and to those looking for employee rights. In the last two decades, organisations have increasingly focused on initiatives that directly involve employees, moving away from representative participation
CIPD research suggests that organisations that seek to promote voice are those that believe that ‘employees want to contribute to the business’ and that ‘for employees to have an effective voice, the important part of the communication process is not what the employer puts out but what it gets back. Good managers recognise that much of the knowledge required for businesses to be competitive is actually in employees’ heads.’ Voice is ‘defined most typically in terms of two-way communications, an exchange of information between managers and employees or ’having a say' about what goes on in the organisation.’