On July 4th, 1776, the United States of America were formed through the Declaration of
Independence. Thinking about this day our brains jump to celebrations, fireworks, BBQ and for most, a day off of work. However, this day and its history should be one that human resource professionals think about with regard to the larger meaning and how we should be viewing our roles in organizations.
“No taxation without representation!” This was the battle cry for the American Colonies and one of the major grievances that led to the American Revolution. The American Colonies did not want to pay taxes to a British government where they did not feel represented or supported. We all understand this sentiment and support the idea that people should have their voices heard by the government that represents them.
Isn’t the same true for the organizations and their employees? While organizations might not levy taxes on employees, they certainly create policies and procedures that affect employees' jobs, time and pay. Shouldn’t the employee have a voice in those policies and procedures? In what way, can we ensure that our employees’ voices are represented in the organizational strategy?
We’ve all seen the statistics from Gallup on employee engagement; only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work. Worldwide this number drops to 15%. In other words the large majority of the workforce is disengaged, not involved in, not enthusiastic about or committed to the work they do or the organization they are a part of. But how can we expect employees to be engaged if we don’t give them a voice in the work they are doing and how it gets done? Employee involvement is key to engagement.
This 4th of July, as you enjoy BBQ and fireworks, let the holiday also be a reminder that basic human nature pulls each of us to want a say in our own lives and the things that affect our lives, from our government to our jobs. Our role in human resources is to help our employees at all levels find their voice and have it heard in the organization to improve the workplace, employee engagement, and ultimately our business and bottom line.
Happy 4th of July, y’all!
Bethany J. Adams, MA is an Assistant Director in the Graduate HRD program at Villanova University. Learn more about her here!