Employees Are Demanding Organizations Evolve How They Listen: Are You Keeping Up?

Leanne Buehler, Ph.D., Principal Science and Innovation AdvisorEmployee Engagement, Strategic ListeningLeave a Comment

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • Your organization tries to respond to employee feedback, but nothing ever happens to close the loop to see if what was done actually made an impact.
  • Your organization occasionally sends out employee surveys but doesn’t have an easy way for employees to share when they have an idea or a concern.
  • Major changes happen within the organization, but the timing of asking employees for feedback doesn’t flex with that schedule.
  • Employees go through major milestones like performance conversations, promotions to leadership, or maternity/paternity leave, but the organization has no way to understand how well those experiences are perceived by employees.
  • Various functions send out surveys to employees through out the year (HR, marketing, facilities, IT, etc.), but surveys are not coordinated and sometimes feel repetitive, leading to survey fatigue.
  • Your organization has lots of survey data, but no way to connect it to inform decision making or make predictions.

If you answered “yes” to any of the scenarios above, you are not alone. Employee expectations on how employers listen have changed, but very few organizations have evolved how they listen. Even though we are accustomed to sharing our opinion every time we peruse Instagram, get off an airplane, or visit the doctor, organizations seem to be stuck in keeping their listening to the annual engagement survey. Considering that the pace of change in organizations is faster than ever and the technology for just-in-time check-ins is pervasive and affordable, there really is no reason not to be asking employees for their feedback after key employee experiences, major announcements, or to better inform decision-making.

Employees who feel listened to are 19 times more likely to be engaged – despite this, employees tell us organizations are failing at listening, especially with younger generations. Newmeasures research indicates that only 47% of Millennials feel their employers are good at listening to employees and only 62% of employees feel that Senior Leaders value their opinions and input.

To address these concerns, Newmeasures works with organizations to help them design a strategic approach to employee listening. Listening that is ongoing, aligned with the goals of the organization, and uses the right methods to check in at the right moments so employees feel heard, life-cycle experiences are maximized, and leaders have the insights they need to make predictions and data-driven decisions.

In evaluating your overall employee listening strategy, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Does leadership have a high-level understanding of employee morale at any given time?
  • Are you able to understand the impact of events on employee morale and proactively respond to concerns?
  • Do employees have an easy way of sharing their feedback with senior leaders, human resources, or operational or product groups?
  • Does the organization have a way to understand how employee experiences predict outcomes like performance or turnover?
  • Does the organization have a means to deeply understand how to take action on employee feedback quickly and efficiently, and then close the loop?

If the answer to the questions above is “no,” it may be time to revamp your approach to employee listening to one that is coordinated, nimble, aligned and impactful.