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Continuous Listening [Part 2]: Building and Executing on your Strategy

Posted by: Megan Younkin

In my last article on continuous listening, I provided clarity on the concept of continuous listening and gave examples of what a solid strategy might look like. Now it’s time to build that strategy for your organization. It does not need to be difficult or complex, but it should be intentional. For an effective continuous listening strategy that avoids survey fatigue, you need to cover these three things in the following order: Ask, Listen, and Act. That’s the secret sauce.

In each of these three steps, I’ll provide some questions you can ask yourself, and the answers to these questions will help you build a strategy that will work for your organization.

  1. Ask the right questions to the right group of people at the right time
    • What organizational questions do I have that employee perspectives can provide answers to? (A few examples can include: Why are employees leaving? Do all employees feel like they are included and they belong? Are the changes we made to our compensation plan for <insert job title here> having the right impact? What are people’s first impressions of our company when they’re hired?)
    • Does it makes sense to collect feedback on an ongoing basis, or just once?
    • To get the right data to my questions, who are the right people to collect feedback from?
    • If I’ve picked a date to start collecting feedback, have I made sure there aren’t other surveys or major events happening at the same time that could negatively impact participation?
  2. Listen and understand your feedback
    • Do I have the right tools to be able to easily understand what the feedback is telling us and what we need to do about it?
    • Do my listening tools provide real-time data in a way that is simple to use?
    • Who needs to have access to our feedback results and action planning tools?
  3. Act on that feedback, and don’t forget to let your employees know that you’re acting on that feedback!
    • Who will be in charge of action planning? Are they bought in to the idea of acting on employee feedback?
    • How and when will we communicate next steps back to our employees?*
    • Will we need a follow-up survey to check progress on our actions, or to gauge perceptions after action takes place?

*This is a real pro tip – If you take action but neglect to tell your employees that you’re acting on their feedback, you’re putting your continuous listening strategy at risk. Why? 2020 People Element data tells us that more than one out of three employees do not feel like their opinions and suggestions are valued in their organization. What better way to turn that number around than by telling them what is being done as a direct result of their feedback?

If you have the bandwidth and the leadership buy-in to ask, listen, and act, you’ve set yourself up well to execute a strong continuous listening strategy. Just as long as you don’t miss a step. Asking but not listening is insulting to your people and they will stop responding. You might as well save your money and just put a sign on a trash can that says, “continuous listening portal.” And if you’re listening but not acting, you’re likely to frustrate both your employees (“Why are you asking me if you aren’t going to do anything about it?”) and your teams (“Why aren’t our scores changing on these surveys we are doing?”)

Creating and executing on a continuous listening strategy is more than just flipping a switch, but it doesn’t have to be hard. When done properly, it should feel like a two-way dialogue with your people – you ask, they tell, you listen and act, they respond. Simplify this further by leveraging a feedback platform that can provide actionable insights and resources to guide you through the process.

If you would like more information on how you can set up a powerful continuous listening strategy, People Element is here to help. Our people will work with you to outline your strategy, ask the right questions, and enable you to easily listen to your employees in real-time. Additionally, our action planning tools provide you what you need to act quickly to keep things on track.

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