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5 Ways To Empower Employees To Feel Heard in the Workplace

Feeling heard is an important part of any successful relationship, whether it’s professional or personal. So when it comes to your organization, listening and responding to employees has tremendous upside.

Allowing your employees to have an active voice is critical. Not only does their daily work experience give you unique insights into how the organization can improve, but employees who feel they have been heard are also more likely to be committed to their employer, improving retention rates.

What’s the downside of not listening to employees? Eventually they will recognize that the company doesn’t value their input and become silent. This can lead to all sorts of problems in the organization, including lower morale and disengagement.

Here are our 5 recommendations to empower employees to feel heard:

1. Provide multiple communication channels.

Since people have different preferences for how they like to communicate, it’s best to use a mix of methods to motivate your employees to share their opinions and thoughts. You could arrange brainstorming workshops with employees from various departments. Pick a topic, such as a new product idea or challenges in the workplace, and see what employees suggest. Their answers could generate some surprising and efficient ideas! This approach also encourages more frequent interaction between different departments and promotes cross-functional collaboration.

You can also use employee survey software where employees answer questions and give feedback anonymously. Finding the right cadence of touch points with your employees can be a process, but over time you will find the frequency that works best. This can ensure that all employees, including those who are shy to speak up in public, have a safe place to share their ideas and a direct communication line to management.

2. Encourage employees to participate in meetings.

We’ve all been in work meetings where the loudest voices dominate. That’s why it’s important to actively seek the ideas and opinions of everyone in the room. A simple, “Let’s hear from someone who hasn’t contributed yet” often does the trick. But remember, encouraging does not mean forcing. Forcing people to participate or calling them out specifically makes people shut down.

3. Learn to appreciate feedback and accept constructive criticism.

When employees give feedback, it can be difficult not to take criticism of your leadership personally. However, you must leave your ego at the door if you want your team to feel heard. Understand that feedback is not a personal attack, rather part of the process of making positive changes.

4. Respond to concerns that have been raised.

When an employee offers honest feedback, make sure you’re entirely attentive to their concerns. Try not to cut the conversation short or check your phone while meeting. Showing you’re present demonstrates to employees that you’re invested in them.

Know that not all employees will be comfortable voicing their concerns publicly or even in a one-on-one situation. Tools like TINYpulse by WebMD Health Services give you the opportunity to have candid  conversations while protecting anonymity so you can dig deeper into complex situations.

5. Reward and recognize.

Rewarding employees for providing feedback is another great way to guarantee that they feel heard. Consider acknowledging a team member’s contributions on a recognition forum, in a town hall, or in the form of a note from leadership.

Bottom line

By following these tips you can create a positive work environment where employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions, leading to greater engagement and satisfaction. Plus, regularly listening to your employees can surface different points of view and new ideas that contribute to better business results.

Everyone in your organization deserves to be heard.

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