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Worker Voice

At a Glance

At Jobs for the Future (JFF), we believe meaningful employee agency and engagement are a critical path to quality jobs. Employers—particularly those with large frontline workforces—are also powerful actors in increasing employee agency and, by extension, job quality. To accelerate impact across both areas, JFF launched a Worker Voice initiative in 2021 to fuel innovation and advance the adoption of worker voice practices by employers. In this work, we are pioneering beyond traditional employee/employer engagement methods, aiming to transform worker input into a cornerstone for meaningful business decisions.  

Contributors
Laura Roberts Senior Director
Sherrica Hill Director
Carol Azeez Senior Manager
Surabhi Lal Senior Advisor
Practices & Centers

Overview

Jobs for the Future (JFF) is investing in piloting new models for worker voice to provide feedback to and fuel innovation in talent management practices and policies. At a basic level, worker voice means that employees throughout a company’s hierarchy should have the freedom and the opportunity to discuss workplace issues that matter to them. So, we launched this effort in response to the great need expressed by workers and employers alike. Employers are interested in finding new ways to retain and satisfy employees, and workers want to positively impact their workplace for themselves and future generations.   

But why worker voice? Because it is good for business and your employees.   

  • Improve your agility and adaptability by getting real-time insights directly from employees. You can see a fuller picture of your business and adjust strategy and operations faster than you would otherwise.   
  • Fuel your innovation and increase retention rates by authentically engaging with your employees. Discover a wealth of ideas and trends you may not have heard while also fostering a culture of collaboration, respect, belonging, and openness to diverse opinions.  
  • Grow employee skills and unlock opportunities by listening to your employees to uncover barriers to advancement and training gaps. You can tune your skills development efforts to the way your employees want to learn.
  • Enhance employee well-being by not only allowing employees to express concerns, but also addressing concerns to contribute to a healthier, less stressful, and more supportive work environment.  

These are just a few ways that the voice of your employees can drive outcomes and meet your evolving needs as a business leader. By prioritizing worker voice and making their input a key part of your business decisions, you will unlock a critical lever in meeting your bottom line and caring for the well-being of your employees.   

For actionable guidance on what you can do, dive into the resources linked below. 

Worker Voice Employer Forum

Beginning in February 2024, Worker Voice Employer Forum will engage a small group of enthusiastic employers from F-1000 companies in retail, hospitality/food service, healthcare, and manufacturing. Participants will work together to explore the practices, policies, and culture that enable workers—specifically frontline workers—to have more of a say in how they experience work and build a strong case to show that involving workers in decision-making is crucial for overall company success. Over the past several months, we’ve seen this issue gain traction and interest from both employees and employers alike. In our role as an employer convener and advocate for job quality, JFF is committed to surfacing innovative solutions on this important topic. 

What participants will gain:  

  • A new peer-to-peer network and community of like-minded leaders 
  • “Closed-door” environment to test new practices, policies, or workplace realities you and your team are grappling with in real time 
  • Exposure to new, concrete practices that enhance the engagement and agency of your workforce while benefiting your business 
  • Opportunities to be featured in JFF blog posts and publications. 

Participants will also have a chance to share and highlight their insights from the forum at JFF’s annual Horizons summit in July 2024.   

Resources

Post

Closing the Worker Voice Gap: Aligning What Workers Want With What Companies Can Do

Aligning What Workers Want With What Companies Can Do In a shifting economy and an increasingly tight labor market, many corporate leaders are seeking new ways to engage their talent while simultaneously powering business goals.…

June 26, 2023
Report/Research

Frontline Possibilities

In today’s economic landscape, it’s crucial for business leaders to understand and address the needs, aspirations, and capabilities of their frontline workers. By doing so, they gain a multitude of benefits that create new career…

June 7, 2023
Report/Research

Listening for Action: A Blueprint for Bringing Worker Voice to Decision-Making

Incorporating the voices of workers—frontline workers, in particular—brings a range of benefits for company performance and worker well-being. Here’s how to make it happen. This guide will explore why incorporating worker voice into decision-making matters,…

June 29, 2023
Report/Research

A Blueprint for Amplifying Worker Voice

Avenues for increasing engagement and retention while building an inclusive culture This guide offers three accessible yet effective starting points for creating mechanisms that can amplify worker voice across your business: establishing employee “warmlines,” creating…

June 29, 2023
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Changemakers: Using Worker Voice to Dismantle Structural Racism and Unlock Opportunity

PayPal’s Lisha Bell is helping corporate America close the racial wealth gap, opening up a dialogue about what it means to create an inclusive culture at work. In June 2020, PayPal made a commitment to…

December 20, 2021
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Changemakers: How Salesforce Is Building Belonging With Its Workers

One phone call at a time, Salesforce’s Jacalyn Chapman is leading Salesforce’s workforce culture. “I quit.” A record 45 million U.S. workers are believed to have quit their jobs last year, and early estimates indicate…

March 9, 2022