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Why Building an Employee Listening Strategy is More Important Now Than Ever

employee engagement employee listening people manager strategy
Why Building an Employee Listening Strategy is More Important Now Than Ever - LeAnne Lagasse

In December of 2022, nearly 4.1 million Americans quit their jobs at the prospect of finding more satisfying work, higher pay, or better conditions.

It was a year that also concluded with only 32% of U.S. employees being engaged, and the lowest ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees in the U.S. in almost a decade.

But there is some good news! While only 32% of U.S. employees overall were engaged in 2022, Gallup research also found that some organizations more than doubled this percentage. How did they achieve such high levels of engagement? The short answer is – by listening.

Today, it’s more important than ever that leaders have a strategy in place to help them effectively listen to, support, and engage their people through every step of the employee lifecycle.

In this article, I’ll explain what an employee listening strategy is, why you need it, and how listening to your employees can positively impact the overall health of your organization.

What Is An Employee Listening Strategy?

When it comes to employee experience, listening means more than lending an ear. If you want to keep your people engaged and committed, it’s crucial to have a robust employee listening strategy in place. So, what exactly is an employee listening strategy?

The Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR) defines employee listening strategy as “an orchestrated effort to better understand the people in your organization and hence improve the employee experience.”

The keyword here is “orchestrated” and – as you might have already guessed – an effective employee listening strategy goes beyond the annual employee engagement survey or open-door policy.

Why Do I Need An Employee Listening Strategy?

While it's important that organizations continue using anonymous and confidential listening methods, like annual employee engagement surveys, these traditional methods should serve as one element of a strategic listening strategy.

The problem with only using the occasional feedback survey is that it’s episodic listening – it will only capture what your employees are feeling in regard to specific questions at a specific time. They don’t reveal what they are thinking (or what they care about) the other 99% of the time. For this, you need a lot more than surveys. You need a more integrated, strategic, and continuous approach.

Does Listening Really Make A Difference?

Yes, 100 percent. Listening leaders ARE the difference between engaged and disengaged employees. Look at these statistics from The Workforce Institute at UKG and Workplace Intelligence on the impact listening can make:

  • Highly engaged employees are 3 times more likely to say they feel heard at their workplace than highly disengaged employees.
  • 74% of employees report they are more effective at their job when they feel heard.
  • 88% of employees whose companies financially outperform others in their industry feel heard.

The takeaway? When employees feel heard and valued, they experience higher job satisfaction, show more commitment, and contribute to the overall success of the organization as a whole.

And if you’re a leader, the benefits are worth the effort, too. An employee listening strategy will help you communicate that you care about your employees, identify areas of opportunity and risk, and empower managers to make better decisions about what matters to their teams.

Does it seem like your employee listening strategy needs a refresh? Check out my on-demand webinar hosted by GoCo, or schedule a free 15-minute consultation call with me, where I’ll help you determine your next steps toward building an effective employee listening strategy.

Hey, thanks for stopping by! It says a lot about you as a leader that you care about employee listening. My goal is to consistently create content that's engaging, applicable, and inspires you to continue learning and growing, so if you have ideas for future content or any questions at all, please shoot me an email at: [email protected]

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