Can You Hear Me Now?

June 30, 2024by Jennifer Murray0

Do you recall the Verizon mobile phone commercials depicting wireless coverage areas and the gaps that plagued consumers? The characters were trying to confirm 2-way dialogue as they moved their positions and verified, “Can you hear me now?”

As a continuation of our employee engagement series, we will focus on how to determine if your team members feel like they are being heard. Engaged teams feel like you can hear them now. Asking if team members feel like they are being heard is one of the critical questions we ask in our simple Employee Engagement system. In previous articles, we discussed believing, belonging, accountability, and measurement. Without feeling heard, it is unlikely your team will fully engage. In short, ignoring the feelings of your team members strips aways their respect, dignity, value, and inclusion.

A strong listening program encourages two-way dialogue. Many organizations start the process by implementing employee surveys. The process often fails for a couple of reasons. First, it is too complex. We heard from an organization that was frustrated with the lack of participation in their program. They were asking 100 questions every year. Even team members with the best intentions would be hard-pressed to find time to complete 100 questions during the limited data collection window. If you truly want to hear from your team, make it easy.

Secondly, too often team members never hear or see a follow-up after the survey. If they take the time to provide input, they expect an output. They want to hear about the results across their team and the organization. They want to learn about what will change in the future.

We have also talked to leaders who are reluctant to launch a program. They believe that they lack the resources to address issues that may be raised. Some feedback may be worthy of addressing to make a powerful shift toward organizational improvements. Alternatively, you may collect data and receive comments or recommendations that are misaligned with the organizational goals and objectives. That doesn’t negate the need to ask for feedback. The key to successfully implementing a listening program is sharing the results. Share the themes – both good and bad.

Celebrate the positive highlights. It takes a team to create a positive culture. Talk about some of the opportunities for improvement. Share the topics you can commit to fixing.  When you launch the committed solutions, reference the feedback that prompted the change. It could be a new policy, process, or program.

Also reference the data that can’t be immediately addressed with a brief statement on why it isn’t a current business priority. You are stating that the team was heard, but it wouldn’t be prudent to focus on some areas at the present time. This is an ideal time to reiterate your vision, goals, and objectives, thereby enhancing team alignment.

Let’s break down the steps to implementing a simple program to support the human need to feel heard and the business objective to increase employee engagement. Start by using a short survey on an automated platform to gather the information. Collect and analyze the data. Determine which one to three areas in which you can improve. Report the results and forthcoming plans to your team. As I mentioned above, reporting the results is the key differentiator between you and the thousands of other organizations that have failed to create a successful program.

Before you push this initiative off, consider these questions. Would it be helpful to know if your top performers are looking for jobs elsewhere? Would you like to know if there are redundancies or broken processes that are creating dissatisfaction and disengagement on your front line? Why have you experienced turnover? Why do people stay? Why are some teams performing at higher levels than others? What do people really enjoy about working in your organization?

I encourage you to get started today. Gather data that will help you answer these questions and layout a plan to continuously improve employee engagement going forward.

 

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Headquarters
230 Hampton Woods Lane, Suite 101 Raleigh, NC 27607
Satellite Office
2929 Breezewood Ave. Suite 101, Fayetteville, NC. 28303
Where to find us
https://onboardwithus.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/img-footer-map1.jpg