The COVID outbreak came as a jolt from the blue for many companies, and they were forced to make some tough choices with regards to their work environment and employees. In fact, it is a natural way for any person, not heard, to vent out somewhere. Most companies that were significantly affected made the choice of accommodating their employees through a work-from-home (WFH) or a remote work model. Although it may look straightforward, WFH does involve a whole lot of logistics in getting the workflow and business processes streamlined in accordance with the demands of the business. When it comes to WFH, the initial excitement among employees does give way to loneliness, boredom, and even lethargy.
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In such a scenario, it becomes imperative for employers to offer all the necessary help to keep the employees motivated to ensure there are minimum chances for a dip in work and productivity. This brings us to the question of solutions that can be utilized by companies in remaining sensitive about the voices and moods of their employees. And how actionable insights can be generated from actively listening to employee voices even in a remote work environment. Before we spell out a solution for gauging sentiments and engagement among employees, it becomes equally important to understand why active listening is the need of the hour for companies that are going through a transition phase during this pandemic outbreak:
Benefits of Active Listening in an Organizational Environment
- Helps Build Trust: Work environments are known to perform to their peak efficiencies only if conducive working circumstances are offered. Any organization that gives its employees room for voicing their opinions, sentiments and grievances will do well in establishing trust. A relationship based on trust will allow the company to improve productivity and will put the company on a growth-led trajectory.
- Improves Engagement: Any organization that allows its employees to speak up on relevant matters will instil a sense of belonging to the company. Such employees will have improved work efficiency and would be more engaged than the average employee. High levels of employee engagement can be a significant factor in improving the business prospects of the company in the long term.
- Faster Conflict Resolution: If a company remains committed to active listening, there are lesser chances of small conflicts and miscommunications flaring up. Such companies give equal consideration to diverse viewpoints and on most occasions, offer amicable solutions agreeable to the parties involved. This can effectively do away with petty politics that can take its toll on the optimum functioning of an organization.
Hurdles to Active Listening in an Organizational Environment during Work from Home
While there may be many ways of knowing employee sentiments, namely pulse check, company surveys, and onboarding surveys, there are impediments to all such practices and let’s list them out, one-by-one:
- Substantial Investment: All popular practices like surveys require the organization to commit a significant amount of time, resources, and capital in collecting, collating, analyzing data. Such a high degree of investment can be detrimental to the functioning of departments like HR and Admin within the organization.
- Workplace Diversity: Today, most workplaces cater to a diverse set of social identities consisting of people from different ethnicities, locations, and beliefs. Such a heterogeneous assortment of people will prevent surveys from fulfilling its original purpose as language barriers, and social conditioning can play a role in preventing the establishment of the actual ground realities in an organization.
The Solution: Berryworks Employee Voice Application Platform
Fortunately, the giant strides made in internet technology has allowed engineers to come up with solutions that can help companies foster a conducive working environment for their employees, even amidst an ongoing pandemic situation. The key here is to use technology to gauge sentiments of employees at the work front and collate those results into actionable insights by leveraging the latest cutting-edge technologies. Berryworks is a privately held company from California that has developed Employee Voice software which functions as an interactive assistant and encourages employees to have interactive conversations. These conversations allow the software to gauge the sentiments and engagement among employees to foster a better understanding of employees by the management.
That’s not all, the software even collates and analyses the data to provide insights about the overall mood in the organization based on which employers can bring in major changes or new initiatives. It does this with the help of new technologies like machine learning and data analytics. In trying times like the one we are going through – it becomes extremely important to have tools in place that allow a clearer picture of employee sentiments, it will allow companies to ‘push the envelope’ to nurture new business possibilities even in an adverse environment.
- Continuous Engagement: – Being a software, it has the advantage of being able to function round-the-clock without breaks across geographies and time-zones to elicit responses from employees. It can majorly benefit organizations with a multinational presence across continents.
- Real-time Reports: – Top leaders within organizations would be able to feel the pulse of an organization through insights generated from real-time feedback from employees. It can even detect patterns and generate detailed reports as per the needs of an organization. This could be related to employee satisfaction, employee experience, and even the culture at the workplace.
- Highly Compatible: – The software module can easily be integrated into existing HR and Workforce Management Systems. This makes for easy adoption and roll-out of this application within large and small organizations.
- Comprehensive Analysis & Insights: Berry does not require stakeholders within the organization to spend time analyzing the data. The application is able to collate and analyze data through automated learning features, which would allow the top management to only turn their attention into insights generated by the application.
While remote working may be the norm in the ‘new normal’, it should not stop employers from appreciating workplace diversity and inclusion and nurture means to keep the employee engaged productively with a positive outlook towards the future.