by Laura Belyea, COO at Talivest
There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to bring people together, even when they’re apart. As a business, your first concern might be communicating and connecting with customers. But, as is starting to emerge, it has never been more important to engage with employees as a priority.
LinkedIn posts, marketing blogs and newspaper rhetoric, have already started to turn the focus on employees in recent weeks. As one thought-piece recently expressed; “If you think employee experience can take a backseat during the pandemic, think again.”
One of the main reasons for this refocus, is the realisation that we might all be working remotely for longer than expected. The Home Office has already told staff they could be home-based for the next year. Others speculate that full-time office-based working may be a thing of the past altogether.
As we learn to adjust to the ‘new normal’, one thing is clear – we need to establish new ways of working. And as great team leadership examples teach us, listening is key.
The Importance of Effective Listening
In business, much like in life, active listening is the key to self-improvement. Business leaders are not immune to this just because they’ve reached the top. There have been many studies highlighting the importance of listening in business communication. Recently a study found that team engagement can vary by 70 per cent, purely on a team’s manager.
We already know that employee pulse surveys, are a great way to monitor employee engagement, motivation and morale. But why is listening so important to senior leaders?
Here’s four reasons why:
1. Investment in ‘Human Capital’
Experts tell us what we already suspected; leaders that take the time to really listen to their employees are investing in the most critical asset, “human capital”. In turn, active listening inspires a workforce to work to their optimum and drives loyalty too.
2. Empowers decision-making
Good leaders want to make great decisions. But how can you achieve this if you don’t measure the sentiment of stakeholders? For the purpose of listening, people analytic tools are a smart way to understand people and processes. These have been flagged up time and again as the key to empowered decision-making.
3. Redundancy with dignity
Another issue that many businesses will face in light of Covid-19, is the difficult decision to lay off staff. We’ve already seen corporates from British Airways through to Frankie & Benny’s make sizeable cuts in recent weeks. But how do you want to be remembered as a business on the way out?
The purpose of listening and inviting employee feedback is to make better, more informed decisions. And while making redundancies will never be popular, being able to treat employees with respect and dignity remains key. Being able to explain the difficult choices you’ve made, will go some way in easing the blow.
4. Monitor and maintain wellbeing
We know that remote working can have implications for many workers. Employee wellbeing pulse surveys can provide valuable insight into this issue, allowing managers to put helpful measures in place
As our working lives transform in front of us, one thing remains – the importance of strong leadership. By using tools and resources to understand employee engagement and issues, and by truly listening, you’ll be the best team leadership example you can be.
About the author
Laura’s role is to successfully support the growth and strategy for Talivest, as well as provide product support with her expertise within the HR industry. Previously posts were director of HR & operations in Telefonica, Elizabeth Arden and ICON