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The importance of continuous employee listening in the workplace

Ajay Ruhela

Last Updated: 10 April 2023

In this article:

Tired of conducting annual employee surveys that gather dust on the shelf? It's time to switch to continuous employee listening. This approach to gathering employee feedback is like having your finger on the pulse of your workforce. In this blog, we'll explore what continuous employee listening is, why it matters, and how you can implement it in your organization.

What is continous employee listening?

Continuous employee listening is an approach to gathering and analyzing employee feedback that involves ongoing, real-time data collection and analysis. This approach goes beyond traditional employee surveys, which are often conducted annually or bi-annually, and instead seeks to capture employee feedback on a more regular basis, such as weekly or monthly.

Continuous employee listening can take many forms, including pulse surveys, periodic check-ins, employee feedback platforms, and social listening tools. These tools enable employers to collect feedback from employees on a range of topics, such as their satisfaction with their job, their working conditions, their relationships with colleagues, and their overall experience at the company.

The goal of continuous employee listening is to create a more engaged and productive workforce by addressing employee concerns and needs in a timely manner. By listening to employee feedback on a regular basis, companies can identify and address issues before they become major problems, and also develop employee engagement initiatives to enhance employee satisfaction and retention.

Benefits of employee listening programs

1. Improved understanding of employee expectations

What better way to dive deeper into employee expectations than to listen to their challenges, needs, and suggestions? Continuous listening can help you decode your employees’ needs, ensure their mental and physical well-being, and determine the factors contributing to their performance.

2. Enhanced company culture

A positive company culture is one where employees know they will be heard when they speak. It forges a collaborative work environment and contributes to increasing employee engagement. It also helps unveil and resolve conflicts that may be brewing within teams.

3. Increased employee retention

A study of responses from 700,000 employees to Amber revealed an interesting insight. On one hand, for every 100 at-risk cases that weren’t acted on, 60 resulted in an exit within 6 months. On the other hand, 70% of at-risk employees whose feedback was acted on in real-time did not land in People-To-Meet in their subsequent conversations with Amber.

Listening to employees continuously and acting the feedback they give is shown to have a direct impact on the rate of employee retention

4. Increased productivity and profitability

Listening to your employees has been proven to enhance employees’ experience and boost performance at the workplace. It gives them a sense of belonging and motivates them to perform better. It can help you determine the problem areas and ways to enhance employee productivity.

5. Higher employee motivation and reduced employee stress

A study by Penn State University found that if you actively listen to your staff, you reduce their anxiety and job insecurity. Active listening demands the manager’s attention, understanding, and acceptance of the grievance. This technique helps boost your staff’s morale and lower their stress levels. It can also help you identify early signs of burnout among employees and take corrective action before it’s too late. 

6. Enhanced employee innovation

Active employee listening shows that you acknowledge their creativity and are open to their ideas. If your employees know their ideas and viewpoints will not be trashed by their manager, it will motivate them to be innovative and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.

Designing an effective employee listening strategy

1. Identify key employee engagement drivers

The most common drivers of employee engagement are:

  • Work quality: The quality of employees' work and their roles affects their motivation level and performance.
  • Career growth prospects: Your employees’ role should support their careers and help them grow.
  • Rewards and recognition: How frequently you acknowledge and appreciate your employees’ contribution to the business influences their engagement level.
  • Team happiness: A solid team working together to achieve organizational goals keeps the employees engaged.
  • Workplace fairness: The absence of bias and a diverse and inclusive workplace keeps your staff engaged.

2. Define the goals for your continous listening program

To design an effective employee listening strategy, you should look at the organization as a complete entity, understand the mission, and learn more about your employees' current performance and productivity levels. This can help you identify the end goals and frame the right questions for your employees.

3. Select appropriate listening channels and tools

If you want to implement an effective continuous listening strategy, you need to make sure you're covering all the bases. That means choosing the right employee engagement tools that can listen to your employees at every step of their employment journey, from onboarding to after an employee has exited an organization.

It's also important to think about specific milestones that are important to your employees, like work anniversaries or when there's a change in management. That way, you can address any concerns or issues before they become bigger problems.

Now, here's the kicker: you need to make sure your employees trust the listening tools you choose. Look for tools that offer confidentiality or anonymity, so employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings without fear of reprisal.

Tools for effective employee listening

1. Pulse surveys

A robust pulse Survey platform allows you to reveal employee trends and turn insights into action. You can customize targeted pulse surveys to promote active listening and uncover improvement areas.

Pulse surveys offer several benefits that help you improve employee listening.

  • Help you focus on problem areas and/or topical areas
  • Generate accurate details of employee engagement
  • Provide in-depth, actionable insights
  • Regular pulse surveys can help you build employee trust

Here are the best practices for effective pulse surveys.

  • Keep them short to get more participation
  • Decide the focus area before customizing the survey and design questions accordingly
  • Monitor their progress and the effects of actions taken before the next survey

2. Employee feedback software

This tool can be a personalized weapon for listening to your employees regularly. A strong employee feedback software can help you drive actionable insights from thousands of surveys conducted within the organization and highlight your company’s engagement or mood score or the eNPS.

Here are some benefits of employee feedback software:

  • Better employee productivity and performance
  • Reduced turnover and costs
  • Better communication and decision-making

 These best practices can help you reap the most of feedback software:

  • Plan and define the goal and target audience
  • Select the timing and frequency of running feedback surveys
  • Decide the team to spearhead the feedback collection
  • Share the results with employees to see what they think 

3. Employee engagement platforms

These software applications help companies engage their employees continuously and enhance their satisfaction. 

A reliable employee engagement platform offers several benefits:

  • Keeps your staff engaged and motivated
  • Supports employees’ well-being at the workplace
  • Makes them feel included and empowered

Best practices to ensure you get the most out of your employee engagement platform.

  • Run them frequently to gather employee data regularly
  • Include challenging or controversial topics

How to improve employee listening?

  • Train managers and leaders: Managers are directly in touch with your employees and the ones who your employees are most likely to speak to. You need to train them to develop effective listening skills.
  • Provide regular updates: Use listening platforms to keep your staff regularly updated about any new changes and day-to-day happenings in the company and to listen to your employees’ grievances, suggestions, and feedback.
  • Use data: Use the analysis results from listening programs to make informed decisions about improving engagement and employee retention.
  • Frequently collect and incorporate feedback: Try to collect suggestions from your employees and incorporate them into your business decisions.
  • Make feedback visible: Your corrective actions should indicate that you value employee feedback and suggestions and that you will take the appropriate steps to work on them.

Continuous employee listening is not just a trend, but a crucial component of a successful and happy workforce. By prioritizing employee feedback and implementing tools for continuous listening, companies can stay ahead of potential issues and foster a culture of open communication and trust. As the saying goes, "Listen to your employees and they will listen to you." 

And who knows, by listening closely to your team, you might uncover a hidden gem of an idea like the Post-it note, which was born from a failed adhesive experiment. So, start listening today and who knows what brilliant innovations might come from the minds of your team!


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