But such bogus efforts will most likely backfire on the manager, the authors warn. “It is likely that their employees will soon notice that their input is not regarded, and the accompanying negative feelings will undo the positive effects of voice opportunity,” they write. “As a result, employees are more likely to suspect pseudo voice in future situations,” and wind up convinced that their opinions are being ignored even when they are not.
To avoid this outcome, it is not enough for managers to solicit opinions only when they intend to listen — they also have to provide feedback that includes tangible evidence that they followed up and did something.
Giving employees the opportunity to voice their opinions can be a positive force for change. But don’t put out a suggestion box if you aren’t willing to implement at least some of the suggestions.