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What is an employee listening strategy and do you need one?

What is an employee listening strategy
In this article, we’re exploring the benefits of an effective employee listening strategy. 
 

What is an employee listening strategy?

Employee listening is NOT about surreptitiously listening to employees’ conversations… that’s probably illegal. Employee listening is a form of culture audit. An employee listening strategy is an HR process that attempts to understand employees’ values, behaviours and requirements in order to create a work environment where they feel nurtured. 
 

Why is employee listening important?

Knowing how your employees view your organisation can help you get a better understanding of employee engagement, motivation and satisfaction levels. 

In the UK, 3 in 5 employees feel disengaged at work.

Employee listening is important because it helps businesses understand their employees and ultimately retain them. It also helps organisations to make changes to their culture that will attract top candidates. 
 

What can an employee listening strategy reveal?

A good employee listening strategy will help you to understand employee opinions, identify concerns and issues within the organisation, and reveal areas for improvement. 

Most employee listening approaches are anonymised, giving leaders access to information that they might not usually be made aware of. 
 

How can an employee survey help with employee listening?

Anonymous employee surveys can give leaders access to information that they might not usually be made aware of. 

It’s important that you reassure your team that the survey is genuinely anonymous, or they might hesitate to give you their honest feedback. 

How frequently should you distribute employee surveys?

Employees should typically be polled monthly to monitor any sudden changes in employee attitudes towards the company. 

You should also survey employees before, during and after a major change, such as the introduction of a new CEO, a merger or a round of redundancies. 
 

What questions should an employee survey include?

Employee surveys should ask questions about a specific topic and should be no more than 10-15 questions in length. 

You could include questions about work volume, leadership styles, inclusivity, feedback processes, compensation and more. 
 

What other methods of employee listening are there?

Employee feedback sessions can be held where a smaller group of employees provide direct information about their experiences within an organisation. However, it’s harder to be confident of employee sentiment if the process is not anonymous as they are likely to underplay concerns. 

Another method of employee listening is looking at reviews on Glassdoor. Former and current employees can give their opinion of what it’s like to work at your organisation. Find out how to improve your Glassdoor reviews. 
 

Are 1:1 meetings a form of employee listening?

Absolutely! Regular 1:1 meetings are a great way to understand what challenges your team is facing and what accommodations you can make to ensure they can perform to the best of their ability. 
 

Is employee listening just about pleasing employees?

Not necessarily. Nobody is saying that organisations should make unreasonable adjustments to please employees. While we’d all to work at a place where there’s an ice cream bar, a puppy centre and the ability to work for one hour a week, that’s not very realistic. 

Instead, employee listening is about empowering your team to excel and removing the barriers to high performance.
 

How can you analyse employee feedback? 

Once you’ve reviewed feedback responses, it’s important to identify common themes and trends. If there is a disproportionate amount of employees who are concerned with the way feedback is given, for example, then this is likely to be a significant problem that needs to address. 

Once you’ve spotted key trends, you can create a prioritisation matrix to address common problems. 
 

Is it important to act on employee feedback?

Definitely! Many employees believe that their feedback will be ignored. So why bother giving feedback at all?

Once you’ve received feedback, it’s important to share the results and explain the actions you will take. Otherwise, employees might not be so forthright with their opinions in the future.
 

Final thoughts

As Eden Scott CEO Michelle Lownie explains: “Introducing a new employee listening strategy might take time, but the payoff can be fantastic. If you want to create a workplace where employees are engaged, motivated and productive, then it’s worth exploring employee listening.”
 

Next steps

If you’d like help finding candidates whose skills, experience and temperaments complement your organisation, Eden Scott can help. 

Find out what it’s like to hire with us or get in touch. 
 

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