Continuous Listening: The Key to Making Your Workplace Inclusive and Irresistible

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Continuous Listening

For most organisations, inclusivity remains an unattainable ideal that they continue to chase year after year. However, when viewed from the perspective of employees, these ideals translate into tangible and measurable outcomes. At inclusive workplaces, employees feel heard and valued, they feel a sense of belonging to their workplace, and in turn, their employers take accountability for their well-being.

No organisation will know that their employees feel this way, until it makes an active effort to find out. From this perspective, continuous listening forms the foundation of an inclusive organisation. Not only that, it also becomes the compass which guides DEIB efforts to success.

In fact, continuous listening gives a voice to your employees, paves the right path for conflict resolution, and empowers marginalised employees to express their concerns. So, how can you leverage continuous listening  to progress your inclusivity efforts?  Here are some of the key ways.

How to Build a Continuous Listening Strategy that Works

Despite the numerous benefits that continuous listening brings to an organisation, 61% CHROs have not been able to establish successful listening efforts. This is because there are multiple aspects of a continuous listening strategy that HR teams must get right before taking it to the next level. Here are three important considerations to make.

Define a purpose for your listening efforts

Continuous listening efforts will not materialise into significant outcomes unless they are defined by a purpose. If you want to make your organisation more inclusive, it is crucial to linchpin your listening efforts to the key pillars of inclusivity. This will help HR teams curate the right content and enable you to establish appropriate processes to advance your organisation along that particular metric.

Unify your continuous listening efforts

Listening efforts are often made by multiple departments of an organisation in a siloed fashion. For example, your IT department might administer their own surveys every few weeks to gauge employee satisfaction with enterprise technology. However, this can lead to inefficient outcomes – especially if two surveys land in your employees’ inbox on the same day, or with overlapping questions. In addition, it may also erode employees’ trust in the value of their feedback to the organisation, which they usually see as a single entity.

Integrate bottom-up, top-down, and horizontal listening efforts

When implementing your continuous listening strategy, it is crucial to reconcile technology, people, process, and strategy perspectives along the end-to-end process. Here are four key steps to attaining this alignment.

Data is the starting point

Consider data the what of your continuous listening strategy. This is what your employees want to tell you about what works and what does not work for them. While some of this data will be in the form of numbers (think ratings and votes), it could also be unstructured (in the form of text).

This data must be collected from across the entire employee lifecycle through pulse surveys, extended feedback, interviews, and social listening tools (these may work on a dedicated channel where your employees talk about work and workplace).

So, how frequently do you administer pulse surveys and feedback? Avoid causing survey fatigue to your employees, and ensure that your response procedures allow your teams to act on the feedback before sending out another survey with the same questions once again.

Ensure relevant and high quality data

Because data is the foundation of a continuous listening strategy, your efforts are only as good as your data. To ensure data quality, question the consistency, completeness, and other assumptions surrounding your data.

For example, if you are trying to make your workplace more inclusive, understand if surveys are answered by employees belonging to marginal groups. If not, how can you empower them to voice their concern? Do they have issues with trusting the feedback system?

Lastly, it is crucial to know that the data collected from across the channels can actually be trusted. For example, making feedback mandatory may lead to disinterested responses. However, incentivizing the feedback process (say, by offering employees a gift voucher) can help you obtain higher quality data – although, acting on employee feedback is the greatest determinant of whether employees will find a questionnaire or a pulse survey worth their time.

View and analyse your data from a DEIB perspective

Analysing the data collected through your listening efforts is the key to achieving the objectives that you had laid out when curating your continuous listening strategy. To achieve inclusivity at your workplace, segment your data by various diversity metrics, and use AI and ML technologies to spot trends in this data.

This will help you answer questions that are specific to employee groups, and direct your inclusivity efforts towards those areas. For example, are women less satisfied with your EVP than men? Are black or south Indian employees feeling less engaged?

Following up with action

With these insights, focus groups can be built, and targeted surveys can be sent out to dig deeper into the problem. This can help you realign your DEIB spend, and ensure that employees are satisfied with the results. Finally, follow up your listening efforts by highlighting what you have changed, and ask as to whether they have led to meaningful results.

The Value of Technology in Continuous Listening

One of the key challenges that face CHROs when implementing their continuous listening strategy is getting the technology layer right. In fact, only 22% CHROs feel confident in the survey technology they use to mobilise their listening efforts. This is not unfounded, as implementing multiple channels, collating the data, and building analytics on top requires significant investments. This is where platform technologies like HROne shine: leading continuous listening solutions can be implemented within days, and can minimise the time for insights-to-value to weeks.  As a diverse generation enters the workforce, inclusivity is becoming more important than ever. Now is the time for all of us to complement our DEIB strategy with continuous listening efforts and make our workplace more welcoming and irresistible for diverse employees.

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Mahita Sharma

Mahita Sharma, Human Resources Lead at Quartic has done her Masters in Human Resources from Birla Institute of Management Technology. While she has a deep understanding of all HR functions, her prime focus is always on better talent management. She is keen on using HR Commune to share what has worked for her by far.

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