When companies make big decisions without listening to the input of employees, there could be communication problems that may send frustrated employees to the job ads. Moreover, when company decisions profoundly affect the employees in question, there are bound to be consequences. Companies that communicate with employees tend to manage change better across the board. Companies that ignore employees before making decisions that will affect them often find that employees feel less connected to their careers, less valued, and less enthusiastic about working for the company.
Beyond Lip Service
Many companies say that they value employees’ opinions. However, companies that repeatedly neglect to solicit those opinions prove that their willingness to listen is little more than lip service. HR professionals can support the company or organization’s willingness to listen by taking an active role in the communication process. HR staff members may survey or even interview employees to find out about the state of company morale and issues that are relevant to the workforce. In turn, the HR department can share the staff’s concerns and opinions with the management. By performing this vital service, HR proves its worth as an essential part of the business that extends far beyond handling of hiring and benefits management, for example.
How to Listen to Employees
Often employees are reluctant to share their feelings and opinions with other staff members. By providing them with a format such as a survey, the company provides a necessary framework for people to formally express their concerns. On the other hand, savvy HR pros may also need to hone in to staff concerns that pop up spontaneously in order to better serve the employee base and their needs. By talking to staff one on one and providing both formal and informal opportunities to share information, HR departments can create the communication bridge that every organization needs to thrive.
Employees that Are Seen and Not Heard
Employees who believe that their opinions and concerns are of little concern to company management must also believe that company management does not respect them. Employees that believe that are of little consequence to the company may choose to look elsewhere for a position where they feel valued. Companies that do not address employee concerns may find that they have a high turn-over rate or may even find that employees are planning to form a union that will force management to listen and act upon their concerns and requests.
By Sophia Sanchez, PhD(c), SPHR