Fair Work Framework 2016
The Fair Work Dimensions - Effective Voice
Effective voice is much more than just having a channel of communication available within workplaces. Effective voice requires a safe environment where dialogue and challenge are dealt with constructively and where workers' views are sought out, listened to and can make a difference. Collective bargaining can provide the context for effective voice in unionised workplaces and sectors.
Dialogue and structure for consulting and negotiating is key to understanding and defining fair arrangements between employers and workers and therefore opportunities for effective voice are central to fair work and underpin - and can help deliver - other dimensions of fair work.
The ability to speak and to be listened to is closely linked to the development of respectful and reciprocal workplace relationships. Voice is a legitimate aspiration of workers who have an interest, individually and collectively (for example, through a union), in everything that an employer does. It is clear from international evidence that workers want a voice not only to resolve problems and conflicts (which is important) but also to engage and participate constructively in organisations. Voice can improve the experience of work as well as improving organisational performance.
Supportive practices for effective voice include trade union recognition and collective bargaining; task-level and organisation-level involvement and participation practices; communication and consultation arrangements and any processes that give scope to individuals and groups to air their views, be listened to and influence outcomes.
What people told us
Effective voice requires leadership and support from employers, workers and unions. Voice is effective where workers have scope to say what they feel, are listened to and where their voice can make a difference. Workers in unionised firms were more likely to point to these characteristics of voice in their workplaces. This is consistent with wider research evidence that
suggests that effective voice is most likely where unions are present, and where management and union representatives have the orientation, capability and capacity to communicate, influence and negotiate. Many workers who spoke to us raised concerns that the current Trade Union Bill would reduce effective voice and perceived it as inconsistent with the aims and ambition of
the Convention's Fair Work Framework.
How to improve effective voice at work
- Adopt behaviours, practices and a culture that support effective voice and embed this at all levels - this requires openness, transparency, dialogue and tolerance of different viewpoints.
- Effective voice requires structures - formal and informal - through which real dialogue - individual and collective - can take place.
- More extensive union recognition and collective bargaining at workplace and sector level could address areas where worker voice is absent in Scottish workplaces.
- The ability to exercise voice effectively should be supported as a key competence of managers, other workers and union representatives.
- Demonstrate the effectiveness of voice channels and their influence.
VOICE CAN IMPROVE THE EXPERIENCE OF WORK AS WELL AS IMPROVING ORGANISATIONAL PERFORMANCE.
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