Improve Your Listening Skills | Employee Engagement Strategies

By Prapoorna M

Last Updated: November 27, 2021

Are you thinking if anyone needs skills to listen? Yes, of course. As far as employee engagement is considered, passive listening could be of no help to the organization. To put simple, every employee in the organization has specific roles and responsibilities, along with some concerns and issues regarding their job and the work environment.

As a part of employee engagement, when the company conducts employee engagement surveys, but if never listens to the feedback of the employees with an intention to make out a solution, then such an effort is not worth a trial. In other words, Listening is the key to Employee engagement.

To further emphasize on this, let me reveal that some companies hire “Listening officers” just to listen to the employees. Such listening officers are meant to listen actively and patiently to the employees, to their concerns and complaints and then share their insights to the different levels of the organization according to the needs.

Such roles are designed to maintain internal and external communication channels smoothly in the company. Although it might seem weird to hire a person only to listen, it is the need of the hour. You may be hearing your employees, but listening to them would provide chances of improving employee engagement.

Manager conversing with an employee
Manager conversing with an employee

What’s the Difference?

You might be wondering that a HR manager in a company is always available to the employees and is there to listen to them and that if the employees still have grievances they can mail anytime. Well, don’t you think there are hiccups in this process? Many of the issues in a workplace will be in such a way that they can be neither ignored nor complained. Also, though an employee sometimes the management would respond saying, “We will look into it” but ignores it later.

Most of the times, the employees won’t ask for follow up but wait for the response. When nothing is done, they gradually lose that interest and excitement at the work place. But, when the management heeds to the feedback of the employees and takes action, the employees feel that their opinion is valued. Not only the employees, even the managers of the company needs to be heard, to know if they are aligned with the strategies of the top management, supporting your leadership and if they are equipped with the resources to lead their respective teams.

Aren’t You Really Listening?

It is evident in the attitude and performance of the employees if the company is committed to employee engagement. The real efforts of employee engagement exist in listening to the employees actively. So, how can you say if you aren’t really listening? Well, there are some signs that you could be your checkpoints.


Now-a-days many companies are conducting employee engagement surveys. But conducting a survey and collecting the feedback doesn’t fulfill the need. Are you considering those feedbacks seriously and drawing the conclusions on action items to be taken? How many of those are being implemented? Was that done effectively and what was the feedback after the implementation? Were the changes analyzed?


After going through those survey results, have you ever felt shocking? Did those results surprise you or were they the same as you expected or at least, half-expected? If they turn to be something that you least expected, it is clear that you are not at all listening to your employees.


If the employees don’t give feedback for the survey conducted, you might be happy that there’s nothing to complain about. But, was it the reason? If the employees are reluctant to provide feedback, it means they believe that their opinions are not valued. In other words, the employees could be thinking, “Why to voice our opinions when they are not considered or valued?”

An employee talking with an HR
An employee talking with an HR

How to Listen?

When you are conversing with your team of employees or subordinates, always remember to keep the below-mentioned two main points in the mind.

Ratio Method

Keep a period-question ratio in your mind. Check yourself if you are only passing statements or if you are also giving opportunity for the other person to speak up with some open-ended questions, like “What do you think?” or “How do you want to take it forward?” Let the other person open up and put some exploratory questions for them to speak up. Check you period-question ratio periodically in your conversation to maintain this.


After asking those open-ended questions, acknowledge what you understood from their words, saying “If I understood what you meant…..Is that so?” or “If I’m not wrong, you are emphasizing on……Is it right?” or “So your main concern is….Is that accurate?” With this, you will get a response if you got it right. This method avoids the biggest problem of erroneous assumptions, thus making the conversation fruitful.

What Can You Do?

So, do you too need to hire a listening officer? Not, exactly. Everybody may not have the resources to hire a person to listening. You may instead train your team for that. Train the team leaders and managers on how to listen to their teams. Training should include on how to give their undivided attention to the employees and empathize with what they say by suspending their own judgments.

They should have the patience of getting a clear understanding on what the employees say and can repeat to confirm that they are with them. Adopt various communication tools, like internal social network groups, feedback and survey platforms, taking anonymous feedbacks, and performance appraisal meetings to have genuine feedback from employees on what they feel about the work and the workplace. Along with having genuine and prompt feedback, analyzing them and making perfect action plans is also important.

Wellness Hub has a team of experienced psychologists who are experts in organizational psychology and a product named EWA meaning Employee Wellness Audit that is equipped with various surveys and assessments fostering employee engagement in the companies. Log on to EWA (Employee Wellness Audit) to visit our flagship product on employee engagement.

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