how to listen to your employees

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For better or worse, our childhood experiences shape us as the people we are today. Despite the nature versus nurture debate, children who grow up in a supportive and caring home may achieve more than those who experience adversity at an early age. Regardless, how we assimilate and carry those experiences shape our adulthood.

Everything we gain from our experiences – good and bad – benefits ourselves and others around us. As a child, I was told only to speak. This experience of being silent fueled my belief that everyone has a voice. I believe that everyone’s voice matters, and when employees are seen and heard, it reaffirms that they matter and boosts company morale and performance. Being buried as a kid made me better at my job because I know how it feels no matter what, and I don’t want anyone to feel that way, especially at work.

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don’t make the same mistakes

Growing up in England in the 80s, children were not treated until they became adults. I was no exception. We were expected to follow the rules: “Don’t take up a space,” “Adults first, wait your turn.” I knew I had something I wanted to contribute and more I wanted to say, but all these instructions on how I should behave toward adults made me feel like I didn’t matter. As I grew up and could communicate more freely, I realized that I never wanted anyone to feel unheard or that their opinion didn’t matter.

While I was never seen as an individual as a child, I now make sure that everyone’s voice is always heard and that everyone feels included. First and foremost, respect for the individual and caring for people creates a safe environment where people feel free to express their opinions. Some ideas may work, others may not, but at least everyone knows they have the opportunity to offer them.

Everyone has something to say, and we as leaders must listen to it. I do not have all the answers and cannot develop all the ideas on my own. When we treat people as having valuable opinions and something worthwhile to connect with, it always leads to better solutions.

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Young people do – and should – have a voice

We need to empower people to feel safe enough to speak their mind, quite small Or new employees who may feel less confident. Each year, the workforce gets younger, and a solution that I love may not look the same from a youth perspective.

As remote and hybrid work options become increasingly common, going to the office and looking in and out may make little sense. If we’re not listening to our employees, we can’t understand why they don’t want a “return to normalcy,” which can lead to great resignations. employees who don’t feel heard who often leave.

After the pandemic lockdown is lifted, we consciously decided to wait for a plan to solidify so that we can see and learn from other companies that were implementing the hybrid model. We saw their men push back against it, creating more friction and leaving employees. So we kept waiting, listening to what our people needed and supporting them in the process. We were able to avoid those same attrition problems.

The only important part about where employees do their work is where they do it best. Leaders can facilitate being flexible, providing employees with the right equipment and benefits, and obtaining the appropriate health insurance package based on their needs. But to fix those things, leaders must be open and listen.

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Make sure everyone is heard

Many people don’t feel confident or comfortable expressing their concerns or ideas, so we need to make a time and space to provide that opportunity. On my team and within our organization, we use practice to create an even playing field so that everyone can share and we can listen.

Opening up a space for people to air their problems brings awareness to areas where everyone can feel equal, which helps us develop a greater empathy for each other as an organism within an ecosystem. can help. If most adults would have treated children like this – making room for them to have a voice at the table instead of expecting them to be silent – ​​we would learn to do things better and grow closer by working through them. This may not have been the case in my childhood, but I was able to take my experience and turn it into something positive by giving a voice to even the most introverted among us. Now, people are more engaged because no one is afraid to speak up.