Listening to staff 'stimulates innovation and drives productivity'

Businesses can boost their productivity by engaging with employees and encouraging staff to speak out, it is claimed.

Sustainable business success will not be possible if a company does not have confident and active employees, according to a report by the Involvement and Participation Agency (IPA) and Tomorrow's Company.

The report - entitled Releasing Voice For Sustainable Business Success - states that as well as stimulating innovation and boosting productivity, effective employee engagement will also boost an organisation's decision-making process.

If employees are encouraged to speak out in the workplace then it also improves workers' job satisfaction and self-worth, according to the report.

The report, which is based on a large survey of employers, case studies and an analysis of annual reports, praised businesses which see their workers as the solution to problems and challenges they face.

Employers should challenge traditional "us and them" attitudes between management and workers and reassess traditional organisational models, according to the report.

David MacLeod, co-chair of the Engage for Success employee engagement task force, said the value of feeling listened to, valued and respected in the workplace "cannot be over-estimated".

Workplace relationships that are based on mutual trust are only possible when employees feel they have a voice, he indicated.

Nita Clarke, director of IPA, voiced similar sentiments in saying being heard is "no longer an option but an essential part of creating value through the multiple relationships organisations have with their stakeholders".

Tomorrow's Company chief executive Tony Manwaring highlighted the value of keeping workers engaged through common goals.

He said: "Value is not only created through people, it is co-created through people inspired by a common purpose, working to shared values, inspired and engaged, giving more of themselves to a common and shared endeavour."

Copyright Press Association 2012