UK employees feel silenced and ignored by employers

One in three employees in the UK would rather quit their jobs than voice their concerns at work.

New research by The Workforce Institute has found a worrying gap between employee voice and employer action, as the vast majority (83%) of UK employees feel people at their organisation are not heard fairly or equally.

Nearly half (46%) also said they feel underrepresented voices remain undervalued by employers.

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Brian Kropp, chief of HR research at Gartner, said if left unresolved, employees who feel unheard by employers can disengage, fuelling turnover and hindering business performance.

He told HR magazine: “An employee’s voice within an organisation is becoming an increasingly important factor in decisions to stay at a company.”

Kropp said Gartner research found employees given a fair voice are 27% less likely to quit.

“There are a number of reasons for this trend. Firstly, in the age of acceleration, people have become more accustomed to voicing their opinions on online platforms and expect that same freedom at work.

“At the same time, there has been a trend of businesses becoming more transparent around policies,” he said.

Most significantly, Kropp said the pandemic has seen employers becoming more directly involved with the life experiences of its staff to maintain operations.

“With that has come an expectation of an equal voice in the organisation, and those that don’t receive it grow frustrated and restless in their current role,” he explained.

The Workforce Institute’s research also found nearly two in three (60%) employees feel their voice has been ignored in some way by their manager or employer.

This could have a significant impact on retention, as one in three (34%) said they would rather quit or switch teams than voice their true concerns with management.

Chris Mullen, executive director of The Workforce Institute, said there is troubling inequity in the feedback loop at organisations across the UK.

He said: “At a time when organisations are desperately vying to attract and retain top talent, people leaders must first listen and then act upon the voice of the employee in order to sustain long-term business stability and success.

“Employee engagement is an important part of the overall employee experience, and if employees don’t feel heard, then their engagement and sense of belonging at work suffers.”