Companies at the forefront of employee engagement are making their processes more democratic. Employees want more of a say in how the businesses they work for are run. Poll after poll show that employees want shared responsibility in making companies work.
Here are four ways you can update your decision-making process to harness your team’s power:
At the heart of democracy is transparency — providing open systems and meaningful data that everyone can access. If decisions at your company are made by a small group of people behind closed doors, then you’re not doing enough to include employees.
Inclusive companies encourage employees to be involved in big decisions. This may be through full team forums in which leaders and employees discuss issues. This may be through task forces that tackle specific workplace problems and devise solutions. When decisions are simply made and communicated to employees after the fact, no one feels valued or appreciated.
The occasional survey dropped in employee email boxes isn’t going to do the trick. With tools such as pulsing surveys, you get instant feedback. This way you can respond to employee concerns right away. If you wait too long, employees will think that you’ve forgotten about their interests. And they might be right!
Fortunately, we’re not talking about going to the polls in November. We’re talking about employees deciding which ideas and suggestions are best. Sometimes it’s easiest to address what a particularly vocal employee brings up again and again.
But by crowdsourcing ideas — throwing the ideas out to the entire team — you can see which ones sink and which ones swim. Better yet, when employees ask why the company has or hasn’t done something, you can point to the data showing that a majority of employees approved or rejected the idea.
In a democracy, citizens are connected by their shared goals. Even though they may disagree about how to reach those goals, they have the same basic objectives in mind. Same goes for your business. Everyone wants the business to grow.
Providing ways for employees to interact and debate the company’s issues of the day will increase connections among employees. Social-media-like tools can help in this endeavor by encouraging employees to interact with each other.
Companies that include employees in decision-making processes won’t just reduce turnover and attract more talent, they’ll also make better decisions. Research has shown that when employees buy in, they’re less likely to drag their feet when it comes to implementation.