Listening To Your Employees Pays Off
If you really want to engage employees, listen up.
As obvious as it should be, the best way to engage employees is to listen to them. But too often, the benefits of listening to what employees say they need to get their jobs done more efficiently and more profitably takes a back seat to the emergency of the day.
My work with dozens of large organizations has shown me that that those who invest in training managers how to listen and engage employees experience a 5x return in savings and revenue.
But don’t take my word for it — check out this data:
- Research by Willis Towers Watson has found that companies with low employee engagement scores had operating margins under 10%.
- Companies with high traditional engagement scores had a 14% margin.
- Companies with the highest “sustainable engagement” scores had an average one-year operating margin of 27%.
How do you know if your employees are plugged in? Ask them. Specifically, ask them whether they feel well-informed about important decisions, and whether senior leaders understand what happens at their level of the organization.
Why? Employees know when they see — and feel — effective communication from senior leaders, and their response to these statements is a critical measure of how well a senior leadership group communicates.
Gallup’s research suggests that few organizations have made it a priority to learn and model the leadership practices known to produce high employee engagement. That could mean your organization is harnessing just a fraction of the intellectual capital possible.
Investing in organizational health and workplace culture makes common sense. Bad habits become business practices that lock you in place; poisoned relationships create bad decisions; paper-thin internal support winds up costing you external customers.
Compared to investing in new equipment, software, or continuous improvement programs, investing in your people’s ability to solve their own problems and settle their own conflicts is cheap.
Mark Daniel Suwyn is a continuous improvement expert and consultant for Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.