Giving Every Employee a Voice

By: Julie East, Corp. Marketing & Recruiting

Apr 26, 2022

Front-line employees are a company’s best line of defense.  The employees, who spend their time in daily tasks, know the ins-and-outs of how the company operates. Most companies have a chain-of-command (Lead, Supervisor, Managers) for daily operations, but what if that chain has a “kink” in it? What if one (or more) of your trusted leaders are not actually trusted?

If you have seen the movie “9 to 5”, then you’ve seen a great illustration of how important employee suggestions can be to the success of a business and how it can backfire if leaders are not trusted by their staff. When a company disregards the opinions of front-line employees, or worse, neglects to give them credit for implemented ideas, it sends the same message demonstrated by the boss in the movie, Mr. Hart, and causes the business to miss out on its most valuable asset and possibly cause good employees to leave.

There are several ways you can respond to employees, build momentum, and encourage your team to share solutions.



Back to that chain-of-command. What if one of your supervisors reacts in an aggressive tone towards front-line employees who try to communicate? Where do these employees go to have a voice? If these employees have daily negative interactions with their managers, will they care about the company? The product? Your customers?

It’s important your employees feel valued and assured that someone cares enough to listen. All employees need to feel they can communicate to any manager in the organization without fear of reprisal from their supervisor. If you have a department, store, facility, etc., that has a lot of front-line employee turnover, this may be a sign of a breakdown in management. You could be losing good employees and valuable input, not to mention the cost of turnover.



Introverts may never come forward to share ideas or problems. They won’t be first to raise their hands, and they definitely won’t be the first ones to answer a question. Introverts are less likely than extroverts to interject in fast-paced conversations, which can leave them silenced.

Make a point of going privately to introverts on your team for their input if they don’t speak up. Especially if their manager is abrasive. Invite them to share what’s on their mind. They may have a different perspective than others since introverts tend to observe rather than interact.



Good leaders don’t just accept criticism, they seek it. It’s no surprise to learn that most front-line employees still think it’s not OK to disagree with their supervisor. Breaking down this barrier builds a system of trust and invites people to open up and share concerns. The more you can normalize dissent, the more people will open up and share their concerns. This open dialogue could identify blind spots and save potential risks.



In many organizations, employee input seems to disappear into a dark hole from which it may not emerge for months, if ever. It is important to create a plan for receiving, reviewing and processing employee communication, and then make that process known within the organization so that employees have a clear-cut idea of what to expect when they make suggestions.

Once an employee shares a thought, procedure, problem, etc., be sure to follow-up with them. An open line of communication is a vital part of any successful venture, and working with your team’s input is no exception.  Let the employee know the outcome, even if you abandoned the idea. This eliminates any possibility of the employee feeling their input wasn’t valued. The last thing you want is for your employees to feel that they don’t matter in the overall success of the company.



Where possible, engage your team member in testing the idea on a small scale. Ask them to test the positive effects, costs, and unforeseen consequences. The experience they gain will inform their next ideas – and they know you took their idea seriously.

If a suggestion has been rejected, encourage the employee to think through the problem with any   additional information you can provide as to why it was rejected. Not everyone will choose to think more deeply, but some will. Rather than people shutting down because they feel ignored, you will engage a powerful team of parallel processors all thinking about the problem from different angles.



About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today

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