Employers are listening more to employees, despite uncertainty

1st June by Lee Robertson

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Research from employee listening and people analytics firm Perceptyx has shown that organisations that listen to their employees and act on their feedback are meeting financial targets six times the rate of other companies. They are also eight times more likely to retain talent, even during times of high attrition.

Published in its State of Employee Listening special report, the data reveals that leaders are doubling down on listening strategies despite the current economic uncertainty. In its study of 1,100 organisations, Perceptyx discovered that 95 per cent of organisations have a formal listening programme in place and seven out of 10 of those are planning to accelerate these further. It also found that organisations are listening more frequently, with 70 per cent surveying their people at least quarterly, compared to 60 per cent in 2022.

The research also identified that companies that are gathering employee data such as suggestions, perceptions and behaviours, are six times more likely to achieve elevated levels of customer satisfaction, be nine times more likely to innovate effectively and crucially, be eight times more likely to adapt well to change.

Drilling down into the data, more than three out of five leaders stated that they place a higher value on listening during a recession than they do during more favourable economic times. In addition, it found that organisations with a more mature listening strategy are four times more likely to use feedback from employees to help them succeed during times of strain on the business.

The report also analysed organisations based on four defining characteristics that helped position them on what it terms as a maturity curve. The best listening companies scored highly on these metrics:

  • Listening Channels - Are you matching the listening event to the business problem you’re trying to solve?
  • Speed - How long does it take for your employees to feel the change once you act on data?
  • Agility - How quickly does your listening strategy adapt to new business challenges?
  • Integration - How do all the listening events that happen during the year cohere into a listening strategy?

Based on their performance against these terms, organisations can then identify whether they are mostly doing episodic listening where just one or two surveys are used per annum, or if they have progressed towards a culture of continuous conversations at scale where data is gathered from a multitude of sources including frequent listening and the re-listening after action has been taken to measure impact.

Karen Smart, who heads up the coaching for companies arm of the AoEC observed: “This is a really positive story about the good already being done in organisations. Having a continuous listening strategy is a key step up from building a feedback or coaching culture, but it is crucial that your listening strategy is designed to be engaging, timely and actionable.”

Karen continues: “Your listening channels or events need to be aligned to the business challenges you want to overcome. Using surveys, intelligence from coaching engagements, crowdsourcing or behavioural listening across the employee lifecycle are all central to addressing specific issues the organisation and its people are facing. We should not be afraid of sharing what we hear. We must understand what is driving and depleting our employees so that we can equip the organisation and our people with the right priorities to ensure success.”