Employees are on the front line of organizations, communicating with customers and potential clients on a regular basis. Because of this, employees are keenly aware of organizational strengths and weaknesses — data that can lead to improvements.
Smart organizations obtain this information by creating healthy environments that promote employee opinions. This tactic is one of 13 employee engagement methods that drive productivity and transform high-potential employees into leaders, according to Dale Carnegie. Listening to employees, after all, fuels increased production, improved communications, and better employee retention.
Employees spend much of their time listening to or following orders from supervisors, executives, and owners. So it’s refreshing to turn the tables. After all, employees are humans at their core. Humans want to be heard!
Why Listening to Employee Opinions is Important
As mentioned, listening to employees creates a productive and pleasant work environment, full of diverse ideas that are respected, as well as innovative solutions and effective workflows.
Listening to employee opinions encourages team members to be open and honest while empowering them to find solutions to problems on their own. When employees communicate with high-ranking colleagues, they transform into better team members. Additionally, improved communication also often morphs into better on-the-job performances and better work relationships. Making it possible for you to build a team that not only understands but appreciates organization directives.
All in all, listening to employees builds trust and improves employee engagement. It makes them feel like they are not only employees but part of a team. It makes them realize their actions matter, no matter how big or small!
How to Encourage Open Communication
Teach leadership how to listen to employees. It takes patience — likely the same patience that it takes for team members to listen to you.
Be approachable! Before employees can share opinions, they must trust you. Initially, trust revolves around whether their opinions (which may not fall in line with organization directives) will lead to discipline. Once employee opinions are shared throughout the company and ideas are deemed innovative, you can take steps to implement change.
Find out your employees’ preferred communication style – emails, texting, calls, meetings. Everybody works differently. Also, tell employees your door is open. Let them know you welcome face-to-face feedback and input. Give employees opportunities to contribute to conversations on a regular basis, from meetings and suggestion boxes to feedback-focused meetings.
Tips for Listening to Your Employee’s Opinions
- Remove distractions (cell phones, telephones, background noise, etc.)
- Be an active listener. Face the employee.
- Allow employees to finish their thoughts without interruption.
- Take your time to respond.
- Don’t be defensive. You don’t have to have an instant answer. It’s OK to get back to them
Learn More About Dale Carnegie Leadership Training
Our employee engagement principles have transformed thousands of key employees into skilled leaders, boosting not only their careers but the organizations they work for.
Dale Carnegie can do the same for you.