Without active listening there is no engagement or continuous improvement. In this new era, Internal Communication needs us to put the employee at the center. This implies that we listen to them, know what their needs are, their pain points and what motivates them.
What is active listening in Internal Communication?
The traditional approach to IC has been transformed. Today, the key to engagement and productivity lies in the ability to actively listen to employees.
Can you imagine a doctor establishing a diagnosis and a cure for a disease without having the testimony of his patient? It would be almost impossible. Thus, in an organization, counting on the opinion, ideas, thoughts and feelings of the collaborators becomes essential.
A process of understanding
But active listening goes beyond simply listening to what employees say. It involves a process of deep and empathic understanding, where not only words, but also emotions and even non-verbal messages are taken into account.
Therefore, active listening becomes a fundamental pillar of IC diagnostics to build a multidirectional and meaningful communication that impacts business results.
Keys to effective active listening
By creating a culture of open, respectful and empathetic communication, stronger connections are established between employees and the company, resulting in greater engagement, increased productivity and a more positive and collaborative work environment.
Among the keys to active listening are the following:
Create safe spaces:
Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable to express their thoughts, ideas and concerns without fear of retaliation. Trust is essential to establish open and honest communication.
Diversify listening tools:
Use a variety of channels and platforms to gather information. Surveys, individual interviews, group meetings, digital platforms and internal social networks are some options to reach all employees.
Paying genuine attention to what employees say, showing interest in and understanding of their views. Validating their emotions and showing that their opinions matter creates a strong sense of ownership.
Analyze and act on the results:
Active listening without action has no real impact. At Oxean, we carefully analyze the data collected and use the insights to implement concrete improvements in the Internal Communication strategy.
Promote continuous feedback:
Active listening is not a one-time event: it is a continuous and evolving process. Fostering a culture of giving and receiving regular feedback creates a constant flow of valuable information.
Generating Engagement through Active Listening
According to a Randstat report, published towards the end of 2022, it indicated that four out of ten companies have seen their employee turnover increase.
When employees feel listened to and valued, engagement is boosted in several ways.
Improves job satisfaction: people in the organization feel more connected and satisfied with their work when they perceive that their opinions matter and that they have a real impact on decision making.
Innovation is promoted: active listening stimulates creativity and innovation, since it promotes the generation of new ideas and solutions from diverse points of view.
Conflicts are reduced: open and effective communication through active listening helps to resolve misunderstandings and conflicts before they escalate, maintaining a harmonious work environment.
Increased loyalty and talent retention: Committed employees are more likely to stay with the company in the long term, thus reducing turnover.
Proposals for active listening
- Work climate surveys: conduct periodic surveys to measure employee satisfaction, identify areas for improvement and obtain feedback on organizational culture and the effectiveness of internal communication.
- Individual interviews and focus groups: organize one-on-one interviews with key employees and conduct focus group sessions with representative groups to obtain more in-depth and specific perspectives on relevant topics.
- Suggestion and feedback box: implement a physical or virtual suggestion box where employees can send comments and input anonymously if they wish to do so.
- Active listening meetings: organize open meetings with leaders and teams where employees are invited to express their ideas, concerns and proposals for improvement.
- Interactive digital communication: use digital tools such as intranets, forums or collaborative platforms to create spaces where teams can share opinions and discuss relevant topics.
- Mentoring program: establish a mentoring or “open door” program where leaders and managers are available to listen and guide employees in their concerns and professional development.
- Internal social network analysis: monitor internal social networks to identify hot topics, trends and employee views.
- Quick surveys and pulse surveys: conduct quick, brief surveys to capture immediate insights on specific events or decisions affecting the organization.
- CI project evaluation: solicit specific feedback on the effectiveness of recent internal communication initiatives, such as campaigns, events or newsletters.
- Active listening sessions at events: take advantage of internal events, such as general meetings, workshops or trainings, to include active listening sessions and encourage participation from all attendees.
Commitment and sense of belonging
Active listening is not just a one-time action, but a continuous process. From the information obtained through these actions, you can analyze the data collected, identify trends and recurring themes, and act accordingly.
By involving employees in decision-making and showing them that their opinions are valued and taken into account, a sense of belonging and commitment is fostered, which translates into greater engagement and more effective internal communication.
Making active listening an ongoing practice empowers employees, builds strong relationships, and ensures that internal communications evolve with the needs of the organization and its people.