Leadership through listening

I’m sure many of us have worked for companies where, once a year, an email pops up with a link to the annual employee survey. A few weeks, or even months later the evaluation is complete and the resulting report appears.

It may be a great snapshot of how things were back when the survey was done, but the company has moved on. Not only may sentiment have changed but so, in all probability, have the metrics. It’s a little like searching for the wreck of a Spanish treasure galleon. We know where it’s supposed to have sunk but over time the tides have moved it.

Fortunately, technology is reshaping the way we interact with one another, and that includes communicating with employees through a variety of means including surveys. To ensure our customers can be at the forefront of employee engagement and listening, Sympa has just acquired Pulse, a real-time survey app that allows organisations to keep tabs on sentiment and thinking across their teams.

One key element in our new Pulse HR surveys is anonymity. Speaking truth to power can be tough. People are sometimes nervous, even if there’s no need for them to be, that they’ll be the messenger that gets shot. Provide people with a forum where they can speak their minds without fear of it coming back to bite them and they’ll tell it as they see it.

What does management get out of it? Firstly the chance to choose the topic. Need to know about how people feel about the new staff rota? Just start the conversation. Wondering how a new product is going down with customers? Listen in to the chatter. You can kick off new discussions whenever you like; organisation, leadership, quality of goals, staffing… you choose. What’s more you can set the metrics and have the tools to analyse the results.

It’s all about cutting the distance between the employer and the employee. Why? Because leadership is more about listening than speaking. The same goes for employee feedback. If you flag issues early, you’ll be able to dig down into issues and bring about the change that needs to happen. Modern HR tools, like Sympa Pulse, give organisations a way not just to keep their ears to the ground but also to make sense of what they hear – and to focus on what matters most.