A report entitled “Next Generation Leadership Development” sponsored by Bersin & Associates’ and written by David Mallon and Laci Loew, which you can download here: http://bit.ly/LHRleadevolution goes over the effectiveness of corporate leadership programs. One small section of the report goes over “Listening to your Subordinates” I’ve consolidated these points into a list of 3 ways an employer can let their employees know that they are being listened to. So here are 3 easy ways you can help better employee/employer communication.
1. Establish a set time for talking with employees.
It’s important that employees have a set time in which they know they can always reach you. During this time, an employer must make a commitment to having little or no distractions-emails, phones calls, etc. This will allow employees to take advantage of an “open door” policy. Also, it’s important to let an employee know exactly the amount of time you have to speak with them, so you don’t risk having to cut them off. Having time for your employees is a huge part of making them feel heard.
2. Record conversations.
There’s so much to remember as an HR pro, it’s only natural that the most pressing information takes precedent in your mind. Employee feedback, while important, isn’t likely to be stored in your brain for long. Which is why it’s important to take notes when meeting with a subordinate. You can refer back to them later, when you’re attempting to create a policy or what have you. Seeing you take notes, reinforces an employees idea that you value their input as well.
3. Get out from behind the desk.
Desks are great for establishing authority. If you’re disciplining, firing or even interviewing an employee, staying behind the desk is fine. If you’re attempting to have a real, one-on-one conversation with an employee where them feeling heard is important, desks can hinder that experience. It’s best to sit beside the person in these circumstances. Body-language and seemingly insignificant language can make a difference, too. Standing up when someone enters the room and greeting them, for instance, is a great way to make an employee feel welcome and free to communicate.