Designing for employee voice

Digital Social Innovation

Collaborators Monash University, Northumbria University

Abstract

In this study, we identify facilitators and inhibitors for employee voice within the workplace.

Method

A prototype system, NINEtoFIVE, was designed and implemented to realise our design goals for the facilitation of employee voice.

Takeaways

Our deployment of the system led to a diverse range of candid discussions around important workplace issues and produced some tangible change within the host organization.

Employee voice and workplace democracy have a positive impact on employee wellbeing and the performance of organizations. In this paper, we conducted interviews with employees to identify facilitators and inhibitors for voice within the workplace and a corresponding set of appropriate qualities: Civility, Validity, Safety and Egalitarianism.

We then operationalised these qualities as a set of design goals – Assured Anonymity, Constructive Moderation, Adequate Slowness and Controlled Access – in the design and development of a secure anonymous employee voice system.

We reflect on a two-week deployment of our system NINEtoFIVE, and the diverse range of candid discussions that emerged around important workplace issues and the potential for change within the host organization.

We conclude by reflecting on the ways in which our approach shaped discourse and supported the creation of a trusted environment for employee voice.

How it works

A prototype system, NINEtoFIVE, was designed and implemented to realise our design goals for the facilitation of employee voice. This was then deployed in a two-week trial, based in a university academic department of 600 staff and over 100 PhD students.

NINEtoFIVE was a platform where staff and students could anonymously make comments about any topic relating to the university.

The research team acted as the moderation team during the deployment, and would moderate any posts made on the system.

Publications

Designing for Employee Voice

  1. Dinislam Abdulgalimov
  2. Reuben Kirkham
  3. James Nicholson
  4. Vasilis Vlachokyriakos
  5. Pam Briggs
  6. Patrick Olivier

2020CHI '20: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems