Listening is an art that every company must master to achieve the best results from its employees. Every workspace follows an organizational structure where everyone is answerable to someone. Hence for effective communication, it becomes very important to be a good listener.
A good leader is someone who can hear his employee and understand, interpret, perceive and evaluate what he has heard. Then take decisions accordingly.
A Job Satisfaction Stats survey conducted by CareerBuilder concluded that nearly 60% of the unsatisfied employees opine that their employers do not make any effort to listen to them. Now that is the difference between hearing and listening. As an employer, you get to hear your employee’s grievances and when you respond to them, it becomes effective listening which as the title of this blog states, is a key builder of any organizational environment.
Active listening skills constructively contribute to employee satisfaction, productivity, growth, and overall organizational effectiveness. Several established companies conduct surveys in organizations to understand the role of listening in fostering the growth of employees and organizations. The results of the company surveys emphasize the fact that poor listening is one of the most critical problems faced by the employees, and that ineffective listening leads to unproductive employee performance and dysfunctional communication in an organizational environment.
Let us now talk about the benefits of listening in an organizational environment:
- Builds Trust: If an employee starts feeling comfortable speaking his/her mind, the organization starts developing a trusted environment. The employees start to consider themselves as an important asset to the organization when employers take their opinion and value them by responding to them. Thus, listening builds trust between the employer and the employee for long term association.
- Enhances Employee Productivity and Engagement: Work productivity is directly proportional to the work environment. Listening sparks new ideas of innovation and growth in diverse fields. If you listen to your employee, he will give you the best ideas knowing the fact that he will not be looked down on and his views will be respected. Employees grow when they listen to the feedback of their seniors and hence engage in more tasks/activities to contribute to organizational growth. Thus, the two-way listening process motivates the employees to deliver productive work performance and promotes continuous employee engagement.
- Resolves Conflicts: Conflicts are an inevitable part of any workplace and active/effective listening plays a vital role in resolving workplace conflicts. We always hear the term “Talk This Out”. However, what we fail to interpret is that talking becomes useless unless we listen. Listening to the point of view of others gives a new perspective to conflicting issues/matters. Effective listening resolves conflicts by aiding in understanding and appreciating viewpoints of each other therefore avoiding misunderstandings and mistakes. This further helps in building and nurturing healthy and strong work relationships and a positive work environment in the organization.
Thus, listening is an integral part of organizational communication. Whether in periodic performance reviews, formal meetings, or informal chats, managers must encourage the staff to communicate their feelings, ideas, and opinions explicitly, and actively listen to them. Listening to work from home employees is also important so that they do not feel isolated and can unequivocally convey the challenges they face while working from home.
Workplace diversity makes hearing to employees a hard task in companies. The diverse culture at the workplace, owing to an assortment of people from various ethnic backgrounds, locations, and beliefs, poses a challenge of actively being there for each other to grasp the true meaning of the words spoken. Employees strive to ‘listen with empathy’ and adopt cross-cultural listening capabilities to connect with each other’s thoughts and feelings in the multicultural work environment.
How to Ensure Effective Understanding?
- Conversations: Employee Surveys, 360-degree reviews, virtual focus groups, peer-to-peer sharing, onboarding surveys, and millennial boards are some of the tools that help managers in deep diving into the minds of the employees and hold interactive conversations with them. Understanding starts with a conversation!
- Employee Rewards & Recognition: Employee appreciation or recognizing employees is a listening approach whereby employees listen to the feedback of their managers on their work performance.
- Applications of Technology: Taking help from professionals enhances your work environment. Berryworks, a privately-held small company based in California, is an Employee Voice Platform that conducts polls to gauge employee’s sentiments and also measures engagement with employees in organizations. The trained professionals at Berry provide best-in-class employee experiences by listening to them through effective interactive conversations and helping them have fun at work.
Active listening is one of the vital components of the communication process. This holds more relevance in the organizational context where engaging in active listening helps managers in managing a diverse workforce and building a diverse and inclusive work environment to foster their productivity. Let us all start listening and build an office people want to work in.
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