How to use employee listening to boost retention

Marlies Pellikaan

Increasing retention keeps expertise in an organization and saves the high costs of finding a new candidate. In this article, we’re going to talk about how an employee listening strategy is vital to boosting engagement and thus ensuring that retention rates remain high.

How to use employee listening to boost retention

Employee engagement and retention are connected

In other articles, we’ve talked about why employee retention is such an important topic, and how engagement and retention are strongly connected.

Our comprehensive data from the past four years demonstrates that engaged employees are very unlikely to be looking for a new job outside of the organization. Up to 35% of disengaged employees, meanwhile, are actively looking for new opportunities elsewhere.

With engaged employees typically making up around a third of an organization’s workforce, these numbers should be concerning for any HR specialist and manager.

In previous articles, we’ve discussed some of the factors that effect engagement. These include:

  • Autonomy at work
  • Trust in leadership
  • Opportunities for continuous learning

Here’s how engagement and retention are related

But how to work on these and increase engagement? Of course, inspiring leadership can play its part, but equally important is a feedback loop that makes employees feel heard and gives HR and management an overview and deep insight into the company with which they can make data-driven decisions.

The importance of continuously listening to employees

Effectory has been working on engagement surveys for over 25 years. During that time, we’ve learnt how to track engagement through an employee listening strategy and also how to increase engagement from the insights a survey provides.

Employee listening strategies have transformed in recent years. Businesses used to send out one monster survey per year. Such a large project is usually cumbersome and analyzing the data and implementing any changes based on the feedback is a long process. This often results in employees not seeing the value of providing their thoughts and future survey projects losing credibility.

What a lot of organizations have turned to, with the help of platforms such as Effectory’s, is a continuous listening strategy. Continuous listening is when shorter surveys are performed more regularly, usually on specific topics and themes.

One of our customers describes their business as “being like a Formula One car. Formula One cars improve by the smallest of margins, and in the same way, we are always asking how we can fine tune our operation.” It’s only by conducting short pulse and theme surveys they they’re able to get a grip on the small details that deserve attention.

Total Economic Impact™  Of  Employee Listening

Effectory commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ study and examine the potential return on investment (ROI) of Employee Listening

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Using employee listening to grow engagement

Listening to employees isn’t useful if you don’t hear what they say and act from it.

One of the reasons an employee may leave an organization is because they feel that communication between staff and management isn’t good, or that HR don’t take the workforce’s concerns into account.

It’s for this reason that business needs to:

  1. Adopt a continuous listening strategy
  2. Develop methods for processing the results
  3. Communicate the resulting actions with employees.

An employee listening partner should be able to help organizations analyze and make action plans from employee feedback.

For example, the Effectory platform highlights the most common phrases and words given in the open questions, and allows managers and human resources to study how their teams are performing in certain areas in comparison to peers both in and outside the organization.

From this we can start to ask questions such as:

  • What are we already doing about this topic?
  • Why do we think it’s performing like this?
  • What should the plan of action be to tackle this issue?

This can also be done with positive results, so that teams and organizations learn what’s gone well and why so that they can try to replicate this success in the future.

We’ve experienced hundreds of companies realizing the benefits of an employee listening strategy that directly informs HR policy and decisions made by the leadership.

Being able to make data-driven decisions that take employees’ thoughts and feelings into account greatly increases the sense of connection that employees have with their organization and may be one of those things that keeps them in their role for longer.

How HR can lead business success

HR and employee listening are crucial to business success. Here is how employee insights can help your organization.

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From listening, to engagement to retention

We’ve discussed the intimate link between an employee listening strategy, engagement, and retention.

By conducting a series of pulse or thematic surveys, organizations get an instant overview into the positives and the issues surrounding a particular topic. From that, they can innovate based on data and best practices.

Communicating this process transparently and clearly is key. It’s not just about listening to employees, it’s about making them feel heard. And this helps to grow engagement.

When employees are engaged, they are much less likely to be seeking job opportunities elsewhere. This means that retention is increased because the amount of time in the employee lifecycle that an employee is engaged and committed to their work is lengthened.

We’d love to speak with you about how a continuous listening strategy could help you address your issues with retention and turnover. Why not speak with one of our engagement experts today?

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Effectory is Europe’s Leading provider of Employee Listening Solutions. Schedule a product demo and discover how to enhance your employees’ engagement.

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