Relationships at Work - Leadership Skills Guide to Create a Company Culture We Love

The Feels of Being Heard Lead to Better Employee Engagement

June 15, 2023 Russel Lolacher Episode 72
Relationships at Work - Leadership Skills Guide to Create a Company Culture We Love
The Feels of Being Heard Lead to Better Employee Engagement
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Relationships at Work, communications and leadership nerd (and host) Russel Lolacher talks on the importance of being heard at work for employee engagement.

According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to perform their best work. Additionally, a Gallup study found that employees who feel their voice is heard at work are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged.

Russel shares why it's important to feel heard, ways we can show we aren't listening and the ways we can show we are.
 
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Welcome to Relationships At Work – the emerging leader’s guide to create a workplace we love.  I’m your host Russel Lolacher

I’m a communications and leadership nerd with a couple of decades of experience and a heap of curiosity on how we can lead and work together to improve the employee experience. This show is a great resource to help us with that. 

 Every week on the show, I talk with a local or global leader on topics that are help to you to improve the workplace. We’ve tackled negativity, reimagining leadership, imposter syndrome, diversity, communication, empathy, activism, burnout, mental health, and so many other topics. 

And now, as an added bonus, I’ll be sharing an additional episode pulled from the pages of our weekly R@W Note which you can subscribe to.

A quick and valuable bit of information on top of our regular show.

So for the R@W Note I’m passing on to you…

This week’s RAW Note is The Feels of Being Heard

"You make me feel heard."

This was a short sentence with BIG impact said to me.

I had just had a discussion with this person on career planning and their frustrations around their work culture and the roadblocks they’ve felt. It wasn’t said in a matter of fact way. It was said in a “I’m not used to this and thank you for providing that space for me” way. A comment like this breaks my heart. Sure, I was conflicted. One side with gratitude, “wow, thanks. Absolutely happy to.” The other, “really? This isn’t normal for you?” Damn. What lingered was that it meant others at work and in their network don't make them feel that way. As leaders, we should be about support and how we can help, not how we can be too busy to help when they're looking for guidance.

According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to perform their best work. Additionally, a Gallup study found that employees who feel their voice is heard at work are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged.     

Leadership is something you do, not something you are. Employees don’t feel heard when we…
- Looking at our phones or watch while they’re speaking, that includes putting our phones on the table.
- Letting our thoughts wander to other issues or problems we’re working on. - Being too busy or not prioritizing making the time.
- Acting like any impromptu request for time is an inconvenience.
- Not acknowledging or responding to emails. Or not answering the specific questions an employee might ask in them.

What we can do?
1.    Active Listening - Give them your full attention, maintain eye contact, and show genuine interest in what they are saying. Avoid interrupting or dismissing their thoughts or concerns. Reflect back on what they've shared to ensure understanding and ask clarifying questions if needed. It demonstrates respect and creates a safe space for employees to express themselves.
2.     Regular Check-ins and 1-on-1 Meetings – And make them meaningful! Dedicated times provide opportunities for open dialogue and deeper conversations. Encourage employees to share their thoughts, ideas, and challenges during these sessions. Remember that active listening. I scheduled regular 1on1s with my former team that was completely their time to talk about whatever they wanted – work, life, asperations, challenges, whatever. Sometimes they took the time, sometimes they cancelled but they always valued them and our time together.
3.    Encourage and Respond to Feedback - Make it clear that their opinions and ideas are important and will be taken into consideration. Actively seek feedback through surveys, suggestion boxes, or anonymous channels to ensure employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. Then acknowledge it and take appropriate action. Communicate the outcomes of feedback and let employees know how their input influenced decisions or changes. It shows employee voices have an impact on the organization.

We need to create a culture of kindness by taking the actions that demonstrate it and model ie leading for others..

 Remember: 
 To lead is a verb, not a noun. 
 If we’re not intentionally doing, we can’t be.