Listening to employees

Effective employee engagement depends on listening to staff, trust and fairness: lack of trust and perceived unfairness at work only adds to disengagement: 64% of UK employees say they are ‘often’ treated unfairly, 6% say they are ‘never treated fairly’.

Psychologically, simply giving praise maximises feelings of reward, which boosts engagement and makes an employee feel more emotionally committed to an organisation, while leadership experts stress the importance of non-financial rewards as a way of increasing levels of engagement and fulfilment at work.

Listening to people means much more than an online engagement or annual staff survey. Paying lip-service to engagement is possibly the most disengaging thing to do: very few people feel ‘listened to’ by an online poll, and conducting a survey but then not implementing changes based on findings is more likely to disengage staff than not doing a survey at all.

While research shows that organisations with high levels of employee engagement perform better, there may be concerns that any perceived increased ‘consultation’ takes time and undermines management prerogative. But while gaining employee input can be time-consuming and may lengthen decision-making processes, this is balanced by both improvement in the quality of decision and raised levels of engagement.