The upcoming period is crucial for the future of many organisations. Listen to the experiences, wishes and ideas of your employees now to win later.
Until recently, organisations were primarily focused on attracting the right talent, a process made more difficult by unprecedented growth and significant labour shortages. Now we are living in an era where mass redundancies loom large and organisations are taking drastic cost-cutting measures.
Companies are mainly focused on survival. They need to continue to serve their customers with reduced resources, while their employees are losing faith in the future of their organisation. And we probably haven’t seen the worst of it yet. Who can even start to think about the future in this kind of situation?
Lessons in management from previous crisis situations
In this type of scenario, there’s a huge temptation to cut your coat according to your cloth, freeze budgets, halt onboarding programs and start reorganising — or simply bury your head in the sand. However, previous crisis scenarios have demonstrated that businesses that panic and rush into wholesale redundancies often need years to recover from the lack of trust generated as a result. Employees do not easily forget how the organisation behaved during a crisis.
Come out of the recession 10per cent better off than your competitors
The last thing you want to do right now is make rash decisions. You will gain much more by thinking in a counter-cyclical manner and dedicating yourself to a long-term strategy. This long-term strategy must take into account the long road that lies ahead, during which you will need the full support of your employees.
The strategy must fully draw upon the reason why your organisation exists if it is to help maintain everyone’s trust in you. And it must drive your company to go that extra step further. If you can come out of the recession 10per cent better off than your competitors, you will be able to increase your market share and continue to reap the benefits for years to come.
Looking ahead to when the current crisis has passed will have a powerful motivating effect on your employees during the here and now. Your employees will know that the organisation really stands for something and that, through their work, they’re making a contribution to society. They will also be less concerned about the future because they will be busy innovating. Ultimately, alignment is key. It is important to make sure that everyone is pouring their energy into the same thing and that all your employees are working together to defeat the same enemy: the current crisis.
Sixty per cent of employees are at risk of burnout
However, many organisations are not currently exploiting the full potential of their employees. They need their employees more than ever, but they face a number of problems. For example, the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis was particularly challenging for many employees. If you suddenly have to work and relax in the same space, it can be difficult to find a good balance between the two. Effectory Pulse surveys of 123,000 employees across Europe have revealed that a mere 40per cent of employees have managed to maintain a good work-life balance in recent months. The remaining 60per cent are more likely to experience burnout.
The same data analysis has revealed that 33per cent of employees are not able to work effectively. This is either as result of their living situation, lacking the right resources, or difficulty collaborating with colleagues.
The business case for engagement
In order to be successful and stay successful, your organisation must be able to adapt to specific, dynamic situations, such as COVID-19. This can only happen if your employees work with you, if they feel engaged. Did you know that employees who feel this sense of engagement are 30per cent more adaptable than employees who do not?
In short: you cannot create an agile organisation if your employees do not feel engaged.
Listening, learning and taking action
How do you create this kind of engagement? By using “Continuous Employee Listening”. This doesn’t mean that you have to get your employees to fill out questionnaires all of the time. It means that you have the right resources to get valuable feedback at any time, for example, by using an onboarding survey, a team survey, or an exit questionnaire.
But listening alone is not enough. You also need to learn from this feedback and take action. Really listen to what people are saying; then stop and do something about it. Change, improve and create a sense of engagement.
Ask the right questions
The right listening strategy is all about asking the right questions. What is the quickest way to get the best out of your new employees? What can encourage better performance from your current employees? And how can you make sure that employees who are performing well will continue to work for you for a long time? If you ask the right questions, really listen and take the right action, your employees will feel more engaged, work harder for you, and stay with you longer.
Create a listening environment
All of this sounds great, but how do you go about creating a listening environment? You need to implement three elements on three levels.
The three elements are:
- Constant access: You must be able to listen and receive feedback at any time.
- Relevance: You must be able to ask everyone the right questions.
- Maturity: Your organisation must have the experience, willingness and resources in-house to do something with this feedback. Effectory can help you with this.
The three levels are:
- Central: These questions focus on the alignment of your organisation.
- Local: These questions are more focused on a team or a particular topic.
- Specific to an event: These questions focus on a specific and temporary event, such as a merger or COVID-19.
Aim for more success
Once you start really listening to your employees, your organisation will begin to reap the benefits. There are many benefits for organisations that use Continuous Employee Listening to respond quickly to what’s happening around them:
- Employees work more efficiently (21per cent) and are more engaged (22per cent).
- Employees are less likely to switch companies (18per cent) and make fewer mistakes (15per cent).
- Alignment goes up by 31per cent, keeping your employees on board and on course.
Want to find out more about really listening to your employees?
The coming months will be crucial to the viability of your organisation in the future. Listening to your employees’ experiences, wishes and ideas now will help you to keep going through the coming months, affirm your organisation’s reason for being, and continue to strengthen your long-term position. At Effectory we offer employee listening solutions for the entire employee experience.
Find out more about Continuous Employee Listening.
By Guido Heezen, Founder, Effectory