The workforce is the most integral part of any business. Without having a motivated and engaged team of staff, a business simply cannot thrive and will struggle to meet and exceed its goals and targets. A prime way to engage with your staff and understand their perspectives on the organization and the working world in general is to listen effectively. Remember that many of your staff will be specialists in their chosen field and may have valuable insights into how certain parts of the organization could be improved.
Here are just some of the ways that listening to your staff can improve the culture of your organization and help to cultivate a more satisfied and engaged workforce.
Listening helps with staff retention
Staff that feel they are being listened to and, more importantly, that their views and opinions are helping to shape change in a company are more likely to feel invested in it. Not all staff will be proactive in expressing concerns in the workplace, and a silent minority of workers may seek other employment rather than speak up. Conversely, you may have a selection of talented staff members who offer insights into improved working practices when they spot such opportunities yet receive no feedback from these ideas. Even the culture of the organization does not have measures in place to allow ideas to be shared with higher management. As a result, an organization that does not promote active listening may lose out on avenues to make positive change, and such employees may feel disenfranchised when they see an absence of improvements. A fantastic way to remedy this and retain the workforce long-term is to introduce high-quality staff surveys such as those offered by inpulse.com. With a comprehensive way of gathering your staff insights and a regular platform for such information, employers benefit from a greater awareness of concerns and a wealth of improvement suggestions.
Actively promote an innovation culture
Some of the most valuable workers in any industry are not necessarily those at the top of the career ladder. Senior managers and directors may make the biggest decisions that can shape the future of the firm, but staff lower down the hierarchy will be looking at the day-to-day insights that can only be gained from working on the “shop floor” of an organization. Their knowledge and understanding of best practices in any industry cannot be taken for granted and should be listened to at every opportunity. To promote a culture of innovation, there must be clear channels of communication between workers and senior management, and the organization must listen to its experts at every level. Improvement forums and recognition for exceptional service improvement ideas drive this innovation culture and go hand in hand with active listening and open communication.
Embrace the freedom to speak up
While the importance of listening to staff to gain innovative insights cannot be underestimated, an organization must also be prepared to listen to and act on information that highlights problems and issues. Concerns and whistle blowing may not be music to the ears of higher management, but they must be acted on and resolved for an organization to be seen to be a fair and equitable place to work. When employers demonstrate that they take such matters seriously by listening and then reacting with measures to resolve these issues, it creates an honest and transparent organizational culture that allows employees to thrive.