“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” – Doug Larson, UPI
In your next meeting, look to your right and then look to your left. It is likely that one of those employees will be working for a different organization next year. With unemployment at 4.4% in May and with 51% of employees actively looking for or willing to consider taking a new job, organizations are at risk of losing their best and most capable employees. The Corporate Executive Board estimates that 12% of all high potentials are actively searching for new jobs and turnover is contagious.
While current investment in employee benefits is at an all-time high, engagement results suggest that the investment is not working. Turnover costs are rising and creating a war for talent. In fact, two of the greatest concerns of senior HR professionals are growing future leaders and finding “good” replacements for employees who leave.
You might wonder why engagement is so low and so many employees quit. According to Gallup (2018), 70% of employees cite their supervisor or manager as the primary reason they leave. Many leaders fail to consider the impact of their behavior and relationships with their direct reports. Too many leaders learn of employee dissatisfaction for the first time with low engagement scores and/or during exit interviews. It is critical to remember that an employee’s relationship with his/her manager is the single most important factor for engagement and retention.
Leaders ask, “Is there something we can do before it’s too late?” There is. The most cost-effective and successful strategy is to learn to LISTEN. Instead of talking and directing, take time to get to know and listen to employees and peers. When leaders pay attention to verbal and nonverbal feedback, others feel important, valued and more inclined to engage. Employees who feel compassion, respected and essential to the business offer more ideas, work to solve business challenges and stay committed. Effective leaders improve their listening skills and act on employee feedback whenever possible—and if they can’t take actions desired by employees, leaders explain why they can’t. They keep the communication flowing. Listening demonstrates that leaders care about their employees’ interests and career success.
Download Improve Employee Engagement and Leadership Effectiveness: LISTEN suggestions to gain insight about what you, as a leader can do to be a better listener.