As a manager or executive, it can be easy to approach a situation with your perspective in mind. But even though it’s crucial to develop your instincts, listening to employees is an essential procedure in any process, project, or company.

In this article, we’ll discuss all the benefits of listening to your employees—and what can happen when you don’t.

Importance of Employee Input – Why Listening To Your Employees’ Opinion Is Important

At the highest level, listening to employees is simply an ethical way to run a business. Nobody likes to work in an environment where they feel unheard, and if you want your company to be a humane place to be, you must help them know their presence matters.

On top of that, all the data suggests that productivity correlates with livable work settings–challenging the traditional belief that employers exist only to light a fire under their employees.

What Happens When You Don’t Listen To Employees

If the positive benefits of listening to employees are not enough, consider the flipside: there can be grave consequences for ignoring workers’ concerns.

It is commonsensical that when employees don’t have room to voice their opinions, they feel dissatisfied, contribute fewer ideas to the company, and, worst of all, feel less able to report unethical workplace behaviors, such as harassment.

Challenges of Companies That Don’t Listen To Their Employees

Concerns about employee listening are more pressing in today’s environment than ever. As evidence suggests, the phenomenon known as the Great Resignation is propelled by toxic workplace cultures. One element of toxic cultures is a pervasive inability to listen or speak up–which only foments more problems.

The upshot is that companies that don’t listen to their employees put themselves at risk of skill drain, mass departures, and human resources issues.

Furthermore, companies that don’t listen to employees face less obvious challenges. Managers who don’t pay attention to what employees are saying and thinking can lose out on valuable insights that workers bring to the table. As a result, projects lose opportunities to be innovative and ultimately end up less successful in the long run.

Key Tips for Listening To Employees

If you’re on board with the importance of employee input, it can be challenging to know where to start. That said, while every listening strategy is different, it’s important to keep a few basic principles in mind.

First, set specific priorities. While it’s important to have an abiding culture of listening, your efforts won’t achieve all they can unless you know what you want to listen for. Maybe you want to check employees’ temperatures on company culture, perhaps you’re looking for new project ideas, or you might have something else in mind.

Second, remember that all employees communicate differently. Some prefer private conferences with employers, while some feel more comfortable (for a valid reason) giving anonymous input. To make your listening strategy successful, deploy different tactics to capture all sorts of employee input.

How to Develop an Employee Listening Strategy In 2023

Ultimately, listening to employees is a win-win for companies. It exercises business ethics, avoids financial and human resources problems, and propels the organization to greater success. 

Now, with all that in mind, it’s time to develop an employee listening strategy. Pick out your goals, find effective modalities to communicate with employees, and start listening!

About the Author, James Webster

James Webster, founder and Executive Chairman of ROK Financial has almost two decades of experience within the financial services industry. His passion for helping small business owners and his innovative way of thinking, has allowed him to run multiple successful businesses including National Business Capital & Services. Under the National name, the team was able to help secure over $1 Billion in financing for small businesses nationwide.