It’s a surprise then that, when it comes to listening to our employees, it’s another story. The business world seems to have evolved very little on this front in the past few years, and that is a problem.
Often, the methods used to get feedback from our teams are old, unsatisfying, don’t meet expectations, and don’t address internal challenges:
- Rumors or gossip: whilst it is important to acknowledge, it is far from a reliable source of information.
- Reviews / meetings with the manager: the basis and essential part of employee feedback, but they usually only occur when there is a short-term problem to solve or are too little prepared to provide interesting information.
- Annual performance reviews: which are, as the name implies, more focused on discussing performance than sharing feedback.
- Annual employee satisfaction survey: carried out once a year (if not every two years). Does their frequency mean there is no valuable feedback to get from your employees the other 97% of the time?
If you feel in the dark almost 100% of the year, it’s even worse for your employees:
- The moments when employees feel heard often don’t correspond to when they need it or when they’re working at their best.
- Hierarchy can have a strong weight on those rare moments of attention.
- The purpose of these conversations is not really to listen to what the employee has to say, but rather to discuss in a formal and official way.
So, just how can we ensure employees feel heard, empower Managers to grow as leaders, and improve HR practices without actively listening to those who are principally concerned?
This is probably one of the best explanations to the excessively high levels of disengagement and complaints about Managers or HR.
The good news for mangers and HR
We have four pieces of good news for all Managers and HR Directors:
- Solutions do exist. They are inexpensive, user friendly and flexible. It’s a surprise that more teams and companies aren’t using them.
- It’s easier than you might think. If you want to improve what already exists, you don’t need to uphaul everything, nor start technical and complex projects. In short: the transition can be smooth and progressive.
- Everyone wins. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win for everyone: employees, middle managers, HR Directors, top managers … even clients and investors.
- There’s support to guide you. Check out our Content Hub for educational articles, infographics and webinars. If you want to know more, we invite you to join our upcoming webinar co-hosted with Obea on 29 November at 2pm.
With these tools under your belt, you might feel ready to take action to better listen to your employees but are unsure of how to proceed. Here is our proven method:
- Try new things
- Ask employees their mood once a week and make a habit of sharing feedback for a few minutes during every meeting
- Conduct a monthly survey about the levers of engagement and get a team of volunteers to analyze the results and propose quick corrective actions.
- Dedicate about three months to the actions above and see a real different in the engagement levels of your teams
With a little effort the return on investment can be huge. Those small daily problems and the practices that jeopardize engagement and performance can be easily solved with better communication and stronger listening.