Do you feel heard at work? Here’s 5 employers who are listening

June 5, 2023
heard at work

Do you know what an ‘oligarchy’ is?

In case you don’t, it’s a form of government where a few make all the decisions that affect the many of a population. In ancient Greece, the city-state of Athens experienced a period known as the “Age of the Thirty Tyrants” following the Peloponnesian War. During this time, a small group of oligarchs seized control and ruled over the city, limiting the rights and powers of the broader citizenry.

But you’re not here for a history lesson. 

You’re here because the idea of thirty tyran… sorry, ‘key stakeholders’ controlling all the decision-making authority within an organization of hundreds or even thousands of employees is not ancient history for many of us – it’s just your average Wednesday. 

An oligarchic structure might seem an efficient and speedy option for business decision-making, but it can also put a damper on innovation, restrict different viewpoints, and open the door to bias and discrimination. 

On the other hand, an organization that supports the participation of fresh ideas will foster innovation, creativity, and equitable decision-making — leading to more inclusive and sustainable outcomes.

So, are you feeling unheard and longing for a workplace that truly values your experiences, insights, and ideas?  

Then join us as we explore the initiatives implemented by five of our Endorsed Employers and uncover the possibilities that lie ahead.

Cisco Meraki | Microsoft | Northern Trust | Softcat | Stantec

Cisco Merakicisco meraki logo

IT, digital, & online media services | 1,001-5,000 employees

Jenny Vu, Senior Technical Recruiter, shares how Cisco Meraki’s values embrace employee voices…

“At Meraki, our experiences, insights, and ideas are centered around our four core values: Simplify Everything, Everybody In, Care Deeply, and Be Brave. My colleagues and I strive to display these values in everything we do.

For example, ‘Everybody In’ means we work as one team toward our goals. We listen to each other, share ideas, and invite differences of opinion. 

Everybody is accepted and valued here. I’ve seen this displayed within team meetings to 1:1’s with my manager. People are given a safe space to voice their opinions and uplift others’ voices. Being in this environment has strengthened my confidence in the workforce and helped me progress in my career.

‘Care Deeply’ is another value that’s important to me. This means we care about what matters to our users, partners, and colleagues. We focus on building meaningful relationships and creating great partnerships. 

Being on the Talent Acquisition team, we make an effort to build strong relationships with our stakeholders and be empathetic towards prospective candidates. I’ve heard from hiring managers and interviewees that our recruiting process exudes empathy throughout the cycle. Working in an environment where others care about creating and maintaining good relationships is essential to drive a positive company culture.”

MicrosoftMicrosoft logo

IT, digital, & online media services | 10,001+ employees

Sinéad Fitzgerald, Senior Partner Development Manager, tells us an example of how Microsoft’s commitment to amplifying employee voices is lived…

“One of the main reasons I chose to join Microsoft was the company’s strong commitment to personal advocacy for individual passions. 

Personally, I am deeply passionate about amplifying the voices of those whose stories often go unheard. This passion has led me to work as a career mentor, specifically focusing on refugees and migrant workers who aspire to build successful careers in the fields of technology and business.

Early in my journey at Microsoft, at a regional kick-off, I had the opportunity to interview a refugee called Yaser Naseri and Yvonne Kelly, the CEO of Glow Up Careers – a social enterprise that helps refugees and migrants achieve their career aspirations. Yaser shared his remarkable story of escaping war-torn Iran, enduring the challenges of detention camps, and attempting to reach Australia by boat. Despite the hardships, he not only managed to complete a Bachelor’s degree in business but also found employment through Glow Up Careers.

The impact of Yaser’s story has been profound. It has inspired leaders within our organization to actively seek out refugee and migrant workers during recruitment processes. In fact, we recently welcomed a candidate from the Glow Up Careers community to our team, and she is filled with enthusiasm for the potential of her career at Microsoft.

Yaser’s story has ignited a growing movement within our company. Colleagues are increasingly offering their mentorship and coaching skills to make a positive impact within our tech community. Extending beyond our immediate workplace, we are now taking it to our business partners and customers, spreading the message of inclusivity, support and how to “Partner for Purpose”.

Microsoft‘s dedication to personal advocacy aligns perfectly with my own values and aspirations. I hope to continue fostering a culture of empowerment and diversity, not only within Microsoft but also within the broader tech industry.”

Northern Trustnorthern trust logo

Banking, investment & finance | 10,001+ employees

Megan Chau (she/her), Talent Acquisition Lead – APAC Client Centres, explains the changes that have been made at Northern Trust to better support employee voices…

“All across our Asia Pacific offices, we host quarterly regional townhalls which provide an opportunity for all our employees to freely engage with our senior leadership team. 

In advance of each meeting, employees can submit questions that will be used during the Q&A session with the senior leaders on the call. 

No questions get turned down or removed no matter how sensitive the issue may be. This further establishes trust in this process and an openness we have not had before, and it also helps create a sense of engagement and purpose around these calls.

Previously, the calls left little time for Q&A whereas now, the team ensures there’s sufficient time allocated for Q&A’s.  Any questions that didn’t get answered on the call, our Head of APAC would ensure to respond to these in a follow up email. 

This small but significant change in approach is helping us create an environment where every individual feels respected, supported and valued to fully contribute to our shared success because their individual experience, insight and ideas are now listened to, been actioned upon and supported. 

We have seen first-hand how attendance at these virtual events has increased, interaction/engagement has shot up and feedback is more positive than ever before from these townhalls.”

Softcatsoftcat logo

IT, digital, & online media services | 1,001-5,000 employees

Rupali Chadda (she/her), Internal Recruiter, shares the initiatives at Softcat providing channels for their employees to share their voices…

Softcat values the input of its employees and aims to provide multiple channels to encourage individual experiences, insights, and ideas to be heard. 

Several initiatives, such as team and management meetings, company celebration days and/or months, website blogs, and podcasts, are all used to shine a light on individual employees’ experiences. We also conduct employee surveys which give employees the chance to share their feedback, insights, and ideas so that we can continue to improve. 

The Senior Leadership team visits every office throughout the year and holds Q&A sessions so that every employee can voice their thoughts.

Softcat supports innovation and freedom of thought and is always looking to improve policies and practices to ensure inclusivity for all employees. We acknowledge that there is still work to be done in continuing to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion across Softcat and our networks are a key part in driving this forward.”

StantecStantec logo

Engineering | 1,001-5,000 employees

Louisa Bloomer, Digital Practice Leader, Asia Pacific, lists all the ways Stantec is listening to their employees…

Nurturing Ideas – Stantec’s Focus on Innovation

Innovation has a rich history at Stantec, from our early research and development efforts to the launch of our Creativity & Innovation program in 2016. In 2020, we evolved our program by establishing the Innovation Office and appointing a Chief Innovation Officer.

Stantec’s Innovation Office nurtures ideas through five phases—Ideation, Capture, Development, Commercialization, and Graduation—to develop leading-edge solutions for our clients and communities. We embrace our people’s creativity and provide them with coaching and resources to bring the best ideas to market.

Supporting Ideas from Our People

For our staff with great ideas, it all starts by submitting an idea through the Idea Machine. This tool provides a single point of entry into the Innovation Office where there is access to the resources—time, money, technical expertise, and coaching—necessary to develop ideas. An innovation coach then reaches out to discuss the idea and help refine and advance the concept to prepare it for innovation leader evaluation.

Stantec’s Innovation Office also supports the Innovative Business Opportunity (IBO) program and facilitates Stantec’s always-inspiring annual Innovation Summit. At the Innovation Summit, we unite employees from around the world to celebrate their game-changing ideas and approaches.

Innovation Resources

We recognize that not all ideas need the same type of support, so Stantec has created a flexible approach to help at any phase of development. For example, our Digital Services group operates as part of the office of innovation to support development of innovative digital tools, to develop digital client solutions, and to build strategic technology assets.

The Innovation Office also supports our people with strategic thinking, intellectual property and legal advice, and research services.

Innovative Business Opportunities

Innovative Business Opportunities (IBOs) supports the creation of new products, service offerings, or business lines by providing financial support and a governance framework to take an idea from seed stage to market. IBOs follow a business approach known as Blue Ocean Strategy. This strategic planning model aims to challenge the commercial viability of the idea and uncover opportunities that differentiate and even identify new markets.

Discover more about these Endorsed Employers

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About the Author

Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

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