Two women talking and listening in an office window

It’s essential to listen to your employees. They can share innovations and good ideas, keeping them engaged and proactive, and making them feel respected. When your employees feel like they have opportunities to provide feedback and that you’re listening to them, they’ll be more satisfied at work and morale will be high. But when they feel disrespected and dismissed, they’re more likely to seek employment opportunities elsewhere. Here’s how you can make sure your employees feel heard.  

Let them speak

Letting obvious, but it needs to be said: listen when your employees speak and don’t interrupt. Be a mindful listener. Maintain eye contact, nod along, and hear the words that are coming out of their mouths. Don’t merely use the time to plan what you’re going to say. Repeat back what you’ve heard them say so you can keep them engaged and make sure you understand their big points.   

Make listening a habit 

You might consider establishing a formal feedback procedure—maybe distributing surveys to your team, presenting them with a suggestion box, or scheduling regular feedback meetings. Or you might do something more casual, simply asking their opinions in team meetings. When your team realizes that you value their opinions and that they have the chance to share, they’ll start to look forward to these sessions and thoughtfully prepare for them.  

Receive constructive criticism 

The positive feedback is easy to hear, but remember that some of the things your employees have to say won’t be pretty. They might be delivering bad news, or they might be critical of the job you’re doing. Be prepared for it. If you receive their messages with the right attitude, you can take advantage of the information they’re giving you and turn it into opportunities for growth and improvement. But if you shut them down, don’t listen, or don’t handle it well, they’ll stop coming to you and then you’ll have problems with morale and a trust issue.  

Act on their feedback

Yes, listening is essential, but it’s also crucial that you take action to affirm the feedback and opinions your employees went out on a limb to share. Of course, you can’t take every piece of advice they gave, and you’ll never make everyone happy, but when you can, develop a plan that puts your employee’s ideas into action. When you’re willing to make changes based on the information and opinions they offered, they’ll know that you respect them and trust them.  

Follow up

Listening isn’t a one-time event; it’s one step in a process. Thank your employees for their feedback and let them know how it played out. If you were able to take action, let them know how your company benefited. If you couldn’t act on it, let them know that too. Be sure to explain why and encourage them to keep up the excellent work.  

For more tips on encouraging feedback from your employees, thus boosting engagement and job satisfaction, check out our website at http://www.icrjobs.com.   

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