A quarter of UK employees donít feel they have a voice in their organisation

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Oct 06 2023 by Management-Issues Print This Article

A quarter (25%) of UK employees donít feel like they have a voice in their organisation or that their employer encourages, listens to, and acts on feedback from its staff, new research has found.

A survey of 1,000 workers by HR software provider Ciphr found that only half of those questioned (53%) feel that they have a voice within their company. The remaining 22% were unsure whether they have a voice or not.

Female employees are less likely than their male colleagues to believe that they have a voice (50% compared to 57% of men). This split more considerably marked among younger employees aged between 18 and 24, where a third (33%) of women say that they donít think they have a voice their compared to only one in six (17%) men of the same age.

The research also highlights the link between feeling voiceless at work and a negative employee experience. Employees who donít feel listened to and heard in their organisation are, unsurprisingly, less likely to stay at that organisation and are unhappier and less engaged while they work there.

Of those who donít feel that they do have a voice in their organisation, or that their organisation encourages, listens to, and acts on feedback from staff, fewer than a third (29%) report enjoying their job, only a quarter (26%) feel engaged and motivated at work, and only half (51%) intend to stay in their job for at least the next year.

In comparison, eight out of 10 (81%) of those who do feel that they have a voice and that their organisation encourages, listens to, and acts on feedback from staff, said that they enjoy their jobs and have job satisfaction, while 82% intend to stay at their jobs. These Ďhappierí workers are also more likely to agree or strongly agree that they feel loyal to their organisation (79% of people who feel they have a voice vs 25% of those who feel voiceless), and feel included in, and consulted on, decisions that affect them (78% vs 17%).

Other findings from the survey include:

  • One in four (25%) 18- to 24-year-olds donít feel confident or comfortable being themselves at work (compared to 12% of over 25s, and 4% of senior managers).
  • Nearly a fifth (18%) of all respondents (21% of men and 15% of women) rarely or never feel like they belong at work.
  • Nearly one in six (17%) junior and middle managers donít think that discriminatory or inappropriate behaviour is appropriately addressed at their organisation (the survey average is 14%).
  • One in seven (15%) non-managers donít think that their leaders lead inclusively. Just 60% believe that their leaders lead inclusively, compared to 77% of those in leadership and senior management positions.
  • Over three-quarters (79%) of senior managers think that their organisationís policies take account of diverse needs and situations, but less than two-thirds (63%) of non-managers agree with them.

ďOne finding that stands out for me is how the youngest employees feel less positive about their workplaces across all areas Ė which is disheartening and concerning,Ē said Ann Allcock, head of diversity at Ciphr and Marshall E-Learning.

ďWe know from other research that young people are more likely than older generations to call out bias at work, which may have become accepted and normalised over time. And that younger employees have higher expectations of their managers and leaders in terms of attitudes, skills and behaviours around diversity and inclusion, which, in itself, is a good sign that increased efforts around DEI and more inclusive recruitment practices are working. If they don't see or experience the attitudes and skills they expect from their employers, then younger people will be less satisfied with their workplace.Ē

ďInclusion is about being proactive,Ē she added. ďThere is so much that employers can do to enhance inclusion and belonging in their organisations. Itís important to focus your efforts and signal your commitment to delivering inclusion through training and policies, implemented from the top down; through clearly identifying individual responsibilities; and by fostering a workplace culture that understands, respects, and values each employee.Ē