Now more than ever employees want to be heard, which means the leadership team need to listen. We don’t just mean listening for the sake of listening, we mean active listening that drives change. We wanted to share some examples of how our clients are creating genuine listening platforms as part of their communication and engagement strategies.
- Town Hall – A regular town hallget together provides leaders with the opportunity to address certain topics and changes, but also provide a live, open forum to answer any employee questions. Don’t prepare answers to questions as you lose the authenticity. Make it live to make it real, so leaders genuinely have to listen to their employees.
- Coffee sessions – when it comes to providing feedback, employees want to be comfortable. Rotate your senior leadership team to host informal coffee sessions where employees can drop in and provide feedback, ask questions, or just talk. Often leaders seem unreachable, so this is a great way to break down those barriers.
- Feedback wall – this doesn’t have to be a physical wall; it can be created digitally too! It provide employees the chance to post their thoughts, opinions, and feedback on a public space, creating a platform of openness and honesty. The feedback can then be addressed in monthly staff meetings, the intranet or personally if that’s the right way to go. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it.
- Pulse survey – this is a great way to regularly gain feedback from your employees. We do it here at Top Banana and it now forms a part of the agenda at every leadership meeting. Any actions from the feedback are then shared at our monthly staff meeting, so our employees genuinely feel like their opinion has mattered.
- TV style chat with senior leaders – One of our clients has recently introduced a series called “On the sofa with” where the leadership team are interviewed around certain topics and answer questions that have been sent in by employees. It’s a great way to see a more relaxed side to your leaders and in a conversation rather than a presentation.
- Q&A with the SLT – Whilst many employees feel comfortable with their line managers, it’s not always the same for the senior leaders in the company. Prove them wrong by putting your leadership team in the spotlight! Whether this be a one-off event, or you include it as part of your annual conference, it’s a really great way to create a genuine wo-way conversation.
- Employee Representatives – asking for volunteers to become employee representative’s means fellow employees can feedback to them (which some people feel more comfortable doing!). We do a similar thing here at Top Banana called ‘banana buddies’ each month our employee representatives discuss any feedback collated and then pass it on to our leadership team for them to address any major issues or areas of concern.
- Leadership roadshows – it’s a well-known fact that we don’t see our leaders often as they’re always so busy and sometimes feel unreachable. But it’s so important to make time to have that face-to-face time with your employees. A leadership roadshow shows employees you are willing to take the time out to have that one-on-one time and listen to everyone…. not just those in head office or senior managers. The whole company is given access to the senior leadership team.
TOP TIP: Whichever tactics you choose make sure it fits in with your brand, people and culture. Listening needs to be authentic and feel real. If the first attempts don’t get the results you want, then acknowledge this, move on, and try something different. Invent something new and keep listening. But most importantly – remember that listening should happen at all times, these are just simply ways to get the conversation started and create a culture where employees feel like they have a voice worth listening to.