How to Create an Effective Employee Listening Strategy and Why It Matters
When was the last time you genuinely listened to your team? Not just heard, but actively listened?
Your employees are the heart and soul of your organization, and failing to listen to their needs and concerns can lead to disastrous consequences. When you overlook the invaluable insights and feedback from your workforce, you open the door to a series of alarming challenges that can compromise the very essence of your company.
If you don't listen to your employees, you risk having:
- dissatisfied and disengaged employees
- decreased employee morale
- high employee turnover
- difficulty in attracting top talents
- declining revenues (losing and replacing people can get very, very expensive).
Listening isn't passive; it's proactive. It's an actionable, strategic choice that can drive transformation. So, you need to implement a comprehensive employee listening strategy.
This article will discuss:
- What is employee listening.
- How to build an effective employee listening strategy.
- What are the methods of employee listening.
- How employee listening can make a difference in your organization.
🕵️♂️ What does employee listening mean?
Employee listening is the process of collecting feedback from your workforce to identify and assess their wants and needs. Employee listening offers a holistic approach to understanding and improving employee experience in the workplace.
"It's about fostering an environment of open dialogue and respect, recognizing that employees' insights are invaluable to the growth and evolution of an organization." Sudhir Khatwani, Founder of The Money Mongers.
What is continuous employee listening?
Continuous employee listening means gathering feedback regularly. You collect feedback more often across the employee life cycle to take targeted action.
Doing this strategy can also lead to a better recruitment process because you can make informed decisions about necessary improvements based on the insights you collected from your current employees.
What is it not?
Continuous listening is not about how frequently you conduct surveys to gather employee feedback. Doing so can be counterproductive as you are setting unrealistic goals for your company in between short intervals. A good rule of thumb is to collect real-time feedback only when you are prepared to address the concerns and take action.
👂 What are the methods of employee listening? 7 Listening channels to do it effectively
Successful employee listening is crucial to fostering effective communication and cultivating a highly engaged and productive workforce.
According to Forbes, employees who believe they're being heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered and perform at their best.
This is because employee listening:
- Shows you care about employees by valuing their opinions and concerns, which can help build their trust and loyalty.
- Provides you with real-time insights that you can use to implement changes.
Here are some effective listening channels to guide you in demonstrating employee listening.
Employee engagement surveys measure employee dedication, motivation, sense of purpose, and overall enthusiasm for their current role and company. Identifying the level of engagement your employees have is crucial to ensure that their perspectives and experience with work tie in with the company's goals and objectives. Plus, it helps you recognize areas of improvement, such as your management style or the overall workplace culture.
Focus group discussions
Employee focus groups are a great way to help companies hear employees' opinions and actionable insights to help improve the current workplace system or address general issues. Through these focus groups, you can learn what the employees think about the work environment, their roles and responsibilities, management perception, and more.
Employee listening sessions
Employee listening isn't a one-time strategy. Building on listening sessions can help you recognize knowledge gaps and recurring workplace conflicts to help you make resolutions. Plus, the data you gather can help improve your current workplace system because you consider your employees' needs.
"Organize periodic sessions where leaders and employees can come together in a casual and relaxed setting. This initiative promotes open dialogue and encourages everyone to share their honest input without fear of judgment." Riva Jeane May Caburog, PR/Media Coordinator at Nadrich & Cohen.
➡️ Listening to your employees begins with asking the right questions. Here's a list of employee listening session questions to set you up for success.
An employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a scoring system that helps track employee engagement and measure the impact of the company's activities on its employees. The eNPS survey shows how workers feel about your organization and whether they will put in a good word for you to the people they know.
To calculate your company's eNPS, distribute a short survey to your employees with the question: "How likely are you to recommend us as a place to work for your family and friends?".
The employees will rate their answers on a scale of 0 to 10.
Employee pulse surveys are a tool conducted regularly to gain employees' insights on topics such as their jobs and responsibilities, communication and relationships, and their perspective on the work environment. Pulse surveys use brief and regular questions to measure critical indicators like eNPS, workplace satisfaction, engagement, and employee well-being.
Pulse surveys can be conducted weekly, monthly, or quarterly. They can also be shared as is or within a related learning material for employees.
A manager meeting gathers the company's managers and the team to discuss problems to boost the team's performance. Manager meetings are a great way to share ideas, discuss challenges, and make decisions.
Typically, 1:1 meetings (also called one-to-one or 1-on-1 meetings) are regular check-ins between the manager and the employees. It is usually free form, giving employees a safe space to share ideas, raise issues, and report updates about specific projects. Plus, employees can use this meeting to discuss career growth opportunities they can explore and seek your advice.
➡️ While 1:1 meetings can be flexible, having a structured flow can keep the conversation productive. Check out these one-on-one meeting templates for your next discussion.
🏗️ How do you build an employee listening strategy?
The best way to build an effective employee listening strategy is to treat your employees like you treat customers. This means you have your employees' interests in mind, and your main goal is to keep them happy. Creating a rewarding employee experience should start with knowing what matters most to them, and listening to them is a great start.
Here's a step-by-step guide to creating an employee listening strategy that works.
Identify the problem
Start by taking a step back and seeing the purpose of implementing an employee listening strategy in the first place. Why is there a need to do this? How will this solve the problem? What is the problem to begin with? Recognizing these factors can help you assess the right tools and strategies for employee listening.
Communicate with your employees
Be transparent with your employees and allow them to understand how the process of employee surveys and meetings can help improve the current system and benefit them in the long run. This way, they will be more encouraged to participate and appreciate the efforts made by the company.
The discussion should cover the following:
- Details about the survey and how you intend to use the results
- An assurance on privacy concerns raised (if any)
- Actual case studies proved to be a success
Collect and analyze employee feedback
The next step is to set up your communication channels to collect and analyze the data gathered from employee feedback. There are several ways to do this:
- 1:1 meetings - individual meetings to determine specific employee issues.
- Focus group discussions - targeted approach for a diverse set of employees to gain insights on concerns.
- Surveys - To avoid survey fatigue, ensure that you identify what survey to conduct depending on the problems or issues that need to be addressed.
Set key metrics for success
It's essential to set critical metrics for success to measure the effectiveness of your employee listening strategy. For example, if the concern is the rising attrition rates, create a benchmark and see if your strategy can help lower the rate.
You can also compare previous surveys and see if there's an uptrend in positive reviews vs. negative ones to assess any improvements.
Create an action plan
Once you have the data, you can draw an action plan as part of the next steps of your strategy. If there's a need for training, prepare your managers to set it up with their team to ensure a timely follow-through on the employee input. Doing immediate action can make employees feel that their time and input are valued.
🏆 Why is employee listening important? 5 Ways it makes a difference
Listening to your people is an excellent start if you want to keep them happy.
A survey revealed that 64% of employees shared that "leaders making decisions without seeking input" was the biggest problem they encountered in the workplace.
Here are 5 ways employee listening can make a massive difference for your company.
Increase employee productivity
In a recent poll, 38% of employees lack initiative when they feel leaders do not listen to their ideas. When employees feel heard, they are more likely to stay productive and take ownership of the projects they are handling. Listening to employees can also build trust and rapport between managers and staff, which results in a positive and productive work environment.
Maintain connection for remote work setups
While we are transitioning to a post-pandemic era, most companies have started adapting to remote and hybrid workplace setups to give employees a chance to have a flexible working experience in which they can manage their own time at work. Regularly checking in with your team can help you connect closer to them, even with virtual arrangements.
➡️ Having a flexible workplace setup can offer employees autonomy. Check out these tips to successfully implement flexible work arrangements for your employees.
Increase employee engagement and innovation
Listening to your employees can help you innovate ideas and activities to keep them engaged. You can create contests, reward systems, and bonus structures to encourage employees' opinions. Doing so can have a positive impact on the overall employee experience.
Recognize early signs of burnout
Employee burnout is inevitable but can be managed when you seek to understand and actively listen to your employees. Employee burnout can lead to increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and high turnover.
When you constantly listen to your employees, you can easily recognize early signs of burnout, such as constant complaints of being tired or overwhelmed or when they seem short-tempered and are struggling to keep up with their workload. Paying attention to what your employees have to say allows you to take action and address the problem before it leads to resignation.
Improve employee morale
Employee listening doesn't stop at hearing what they say; you need to make sure there are actionable steps to help address their concerns. This can help boost their morale, knowing that their opinions matter to you, and can contribute to a positive work environment. Plus, listening to your employees can help develop a more effective employee retention strategy to reduce turnover for your company.
➡️ Listen to and address your people's concerns with Zavvy
Implementing an effective employee listening strategy is no walk in the park. Getting it right takes time, effort, and a lot of communication. But, having the right tool can make all the difference in crafting an effective employee listening strategy.
Zavvy offers a range of powerful products tailor-made to empower your workforce and boost communication.
Our anonymous feedback tool can help you:
- Run all kinds of surveys (engagement, job satisfaction, well-being, you name it).
- Access ready-to-use templates or build your own with ease.
- Use powerful analytics when you export the data and evaluate the results.
That's not all! Our one-on-one meeting software lets you communicate effectively with your employees with structured 1:1s, pulse questions, and an overview of action items.
Plus, our employee engagement software helps you drive engagement by letting you:
- Build your own feedback survey system.
- Track key metrics like eNPS, well-being scores, and DEI readiness.
- Take targeted actions with data-driven results.
📅 You are one step closer to building an effective employee listening strategy. Book a demo now and allow Zavvy to get you started.