According to a wtwco study, 60% of employers have intensified their efforts to listen to employees, which is a growing trend within HR.
Listening is a good start, but to be able to take action on employee feedback, HR needs to utilise formal listening methods.
In this comprehensive guide, we delve into what constitutes employee listening and why it holds such significance in maintaining high levels of employee engagement.
We'll also discuss how to craft your own bespoke employee listening strategy, with practical examples for added clarity.
What is employee listening?
Within the domain of human resources, employee listening can be likened to possessing the power to grasp the genuine thoughts and emotions of their employees.
Forming an atmosphere in which personnel experience is respected and listened to is what it's all about.
Forget boring surveys and feedback sessions - employee listening is an ongoing conversation between management and staff.
It's like having a never-ending chat that reveals what motivates the workforce, what challenges they face, and how they see the company culture.
A successful employee listening strategy involves various methods like one-on-one interviews, focus groups, open forums, and digital platforms for anonymous feedback.
Rather than leaving issues to escalate, an effective employee listening strategy requires taking proactive steps.
One-on-One Interviews: Managers get up close and personal with employees, uncovering hidden gripes and brilliant ideas that might not come up in group discussions.
Focus Groups: Small groups mean big discussions. This method is perfect for diving deep into specific topics, especially when introducing new company initiatives or policies.
Open Forums: Let the opinions flow. Open forums promote transparency and inclusivity, giving every staff member a chance to contribute to decision-making processes.
Digital Platforms: Anonymity breeds honesty. Tools like Eletive provide secure channels for candid feedback, so employees can speak their minds without fear of backlash.
The ultimate goal?
A work environment where communication flows freely from top to bottom and bottom to top.
It's all about building trust, making informed decisions, and growing your organisation with real-time data straight from your most valuable asset: your people.
Why is employee listening important?
The answer lies in the valuable insights it provides into employees' thoughts, feelings, and perceptions about their work environment.
By truly listening to your staff, you can understand what motivates them, the challenges they face, and how satisfied they are with their roles.
This information empowers HR managers to make informed decisions that improve workplace conditions and enhance job satisfaction.
And guess what? It also leads to increased productivity and higher retention rates.
But wait, there's more. Employee listening also builds trust between management and staff. When employees feel heard, they become more engaged and committed to the organisation's success.
However, implementing an effective employee listening strategy isn't a walk in the park. It requires careful planning and the right tools for continuous feedback collection, like Eletive.
Benefits of Employee Listening:
Increased productivity: When employees feel listened to, they're more motivated, leading to increased productivity.
Better retention rates: When workers believe their voices matter, they're less likely to leave or switch jobs frequently, improving retention rates.
Fostering trust: An open communication channel where everyone feels heard helps build trust among team members, creating healthier working relationships at all levels within the company.
The perks of listening sessions
Listening sessions are a must-have for any company looking to boost employee engagement.
They bring a bunch of benefits to the table, making the workplace a happier and more productive environment.
Engagement on steroids: Regular listening sessions can skyrocket employee engagement levels. By giving your employees a platform to be heard, they will experience a sense of worth and become encouraged to perform at their peak.
Smarter decision-making: By tapping into your workforce's insights, you can make smarter decisions that align with their needs. It's like having a secret weapon for building trust between management and staff.
Innovation bonanza: Your employees are a goldmine of innovative ideas. Listening sessions provide the perfect platform for them to share their genius and drive innovation within your company.
Transparency galore: Open dialogue in listening sessions promotes transparency. It breaks down the walls between different levels of the corporate ladder, making everyone feel like part of the same team.
Risk ruster: These sessions help you spot potential issues before they blow up. By nipping problems in the bud, you can prevent employee dissatisfaction from turning into a full-blown crisis.
All these perks make regular listening sessions a no-brainer for HR managers who want to supercharge employee performance.
Take action on the feedback you've gathered to truly benefit from regular listening sessions.
That's where tools like Eletive come in, providing actionable insights based on the feedback you gather during your listening sessions.
Crafting an employee listening strategy: a step-by-step guide
Creating a successful employee listening strategy requires careful planning and execution.
To ensure you create a successful employee listening strategy, here's a step-by-step guide to help you…
1. Defining objectives and goals
First things first, set clear objectives and goals for your employee listening strategy.
What's the point? Do you want happier employees, higher productivity? Or how about lower turnover?
2. Differentiating continuous vs non-continuous strategies
Are you a firm that always seeks to act, or one more inclined towards yearly initiatives? Continuous listening or annual surveys? Choose your style.
3. Evaluating current state of employee listening
Take a good look at how well you're currently listening to your employees. Are you nailing it or need some serious improvement? Time to find out.
4. Identifying target audience
Who's the lucky bunch that will be the focus of your listening strategy? All employees or just specific departments? Make up your mind.
5. Selecting appropriate methods & channels
How will you gather feedback from your team? One-on-one chats, online surveys, or maybe suggestion boxes? Choose your weapons wisely.
Implementing your employee listening strategy
Plan, execute, monitor, and refine to ensure success.
First, get buy-in from all levels.
Communicate distinctly concerning what you're executing and why it is relevant. Make sure everyone understands their role.
Train managers: Equip them with skills to have meaningful conversations and handle feedback effectively.
Pilot test: Run a small-scale trial before going company-wide. Use insights to refine your approach.
Maintain transparency: Share regular updates on progress and changes based on feedback.
Successful implementation requires patience and persistence. Change doesn't happen overnight, but consistent efforts yield positive results in morale, productivity, and retention rates.
Doing this at scale is hard. This is where Eletive’s platform comes in…
Employee listening tools and platforms
In today's digital age, there are loads of employee listening tools and platforms to choose from to make the above process easiest.
We strongly believe that our platform stands out. Why?
It’ll help you gather, analyse, and act on employee feedback effectively. Here’s how…
When sending out employee surveys, it’s good practice to include open-ended questions. However, open-ended questions generate a lot of data, and reading free-text answers and comments is time-consuming. Listening to AI solves this problem.
It's important to include open-ended questions in employee surveys. These questions enable employees to write whatever they want and serve as a complement to standard questions answered by choosing a number on a scale.
Free-text answers often provide valuable information that can be difficult to access in other ways. But with thousands of employees, reading all the answers becomes challenging, if not impossible.
Related reading: Best practices for employee engagement surveys
Listening AI solves the problem
Listening AI is a feature in the Eletive platform developed to help employers interpret large data sets derived from free-text questions. Listening AI allows you to make sense of and visualise large numbers of free-text answers – in real-time.
Built on advanced AI and NLP functionality, it automatically scans and analyses the free-text answers to provide an immediate overview.
You can see what topics are most prominent and if the sentiment in the answers is positive or negative. This means you always know what’s going on in your organisation so that you can apply a proactive approach.
A real-time overview of what matters most to your people
Imagine you have thousands and thousands of employees answering your employee surveys.
The free-text answers they provide contain valuable information, but it’s difficult to access due to the sheer amount of answers.
Listening AI solves this problem by instantly categorising and analysing the written answers, and presenting them in a way that allows you to make sense of thousands of responses at a glance.
Listening to AI shows you not only what topics people are writing the most about, but also how they feel about these topics. Imagine, for example, that many of your employees are writing comments about their work environment.
If those comments are positive, that word will be prominent (big bubble) and the sentiment will be positive (green bubble). If that’s the case, we can only congratulate you!
However, if many of your employees are writing comments about the same topic – their work environment – but those comments are negative, then you will see a big red bubble containing that word. And you will immediately know that there is some type of issue in the area of the work environment that needs to be addressed.
Drill down for deeper insights
As we’ve seen, Listening AI gives you a real-time overview of what topics are most prominent in your organisation, and how people feel about them. This gives you a clear indication of where to focus your attention. Sometimes, that will be enough.
Other times, you'll want more detailed information. Then the next step is to drill down into the data to understand exactly what’s going on. Listening to AI makes this very easy and intuitive.
Once you've identified the most important topics, you can simply click on them to understand exactly what employees are writing about them. You can keep drilling down to the most granular level where you can read each individual survey answer or comment.
You can also filter the answers so that, for example, you only see the comments where the feedback includes "a noisy work environment" or "stressed managers".
Combining entity and sentiment analysis
Curious about the more techy side of things? Let’s have a look at how this actually works! The Listening AI identifies actionable insights from large data sets of comments through two types of analyses: Entity Analysis and Sentiment Analysis.
Entity Analysis inspects the given text for known entities (which, in this context, is another word in for words), and returns information about those entities. From this analysis comes a salience score. The salience score for an entity indicates how important or central that entity (word) is to the entire comment. Scores closer to 0 are less salient, while scores closer to 1.0 are highly salient.
Sentiment Analysis identifies the prevailing emotional opinion within the text, to determine if the respondent’s attitude is positive, negative, or neutral. From this analysis, the presence of emotional content (0, +inf) and a sentiment score (-10 to 10) are derived.
Employee Listening at scale – made easy
Listening to AI makes it possible to really listen to and understand the people in your organisation, regardless of how many employees you have.
By optimising and streamlining the analysis and reports, Eletive does the legwork for you so that you always have updated real-time insights at your fingertips.
Would you like to explore how your organisation would benefit from Eletive and Listening AI? Get in touch with our sales team for a demo!