Improving the workplace environment doesn’t come without taking a hard look at how employees are connected with the company, how they feel, and what they are saying. When leaders of all levels fail to take the time to listen to their teams they are choosing to ignore the greatest factor in their business’ performance - the employee experience.
With baby boomers retiring and the rise of millennials taking over the workforce, employees have an increased craving to be heard and valued in the workplace. When employees do not feel their opinions and ideas matter, they become disengaged; their performance declines and they will likely leave for a better opportunity as your organization’s reputation takes a downfall.
The leaders #1 mission is to ensure all employees are not just coming to work, but involved and passionate about making the company better. Here are some listening tips you can implement today to help your employees become more engaged.
1. Train leaders on how to listen: Active listening requires one to provide their full attention to the information being shared. Leaders must be taught how to properly put away all distractions and make time to intentionally receive feedback on employee needs, or access ideas from their employees that could improve performance. It is vital for leaders to become defensive (in speech or body language) concerning what is being said. Studies show that over 40% of junior employees are afraid to voice their opinions to senior management. Creating a safe, active listening environment for feedback will allow leaders to show that they are invested in their employee’s growth and value the skills, creativity, and insight that they bring to the table.
2. Offer multiple communication channels: What outlets do you have in place to allow employees to promptly voice their opinions and frustrations? Do you make the opportunity for employees to use these outlets clear upon hiring? Aside from annual surveys, your employees should know that you are open to know their problems and concerns to address them accordingly. Failing to do this could lead to greater issues, including your company’s name being bashed online as a toxic place to work. Communication channels can include online platforms, regular group meetings, one-on-one meetings between leaders and their direct reports, even email access.
3. Respond, Follow Up, Repeat: Active listening doesn’t just stop when your employees stop talking. After you collect all information, evaluate it. Do you notice any trends in what was said? How do these trends affect your business' current performance? Responding promptly to all problems may require you and your team to perform investigations, change policies, and improve processes, however in the long run, you will be proud of the transformation and money saved from your efforts of taking a stand to elevate the economy of your workforce.
What do your employees think about their leaders and your company as a whole? You will be surprised at how taking the time to listen and follow up with concerns will save your company money, increase performance, and improve your reputation as one of the best places to work.
MK Global Consulting Partners are experts at addressing all angles of an organization to help businesses WIN through their people. How much money and talent are you wasting on making poor organizational decisions? What challenges do you face in your organization that have made you lose internal rapport or hire the wrong employees? Contact us for a free consultation to find out how MK Global can help you level up your organization to be a performance powerhouse.