Healthy workplace cultures start with listening, because we all want to – and deserve – to feel heard. To understand whether employees feel listened to in the workplace, leading employee experience agency www.thisishome.co.uk recently conducted a survey of over 4,000 people from 17 industries around the world, to find out how effectively organisations communicate with and understand their people.
Listening has a huge impact on and shapes the experience we have at work The research found that 80% of people who feel listened to are having more good days at work. This is more than double the amount of people having good days, compared with those who don’t feel listened to (only 37% of these people are having more good days at work).
And the impact of not feeling heard is substantial, with 72% of people who don’t feel listened to looking for a new job.
The research also found that team members feel less listened to than senior leaders. Overall, 1 in 4 senior leaders don’t feel listened to. However, this jumps to nearly 2 in 4 at a team member level. Meaning senior leaders are having a better experience at work, but they are not doing their bit. They have the power to listen to and make their teams feel heard. We need to close this gap.
The roles in which workers felt least listened to were as follows:
- Team members – 45%
- Middle managers – 33%
- Senior leaders – 27%
- Owners or executives – 26%
The team also found that in today’s workplaces, there’s a troubling reality: nearly one in three reported that they don’t feel safe to speak up if something isn’t right, a silence that conceals human and business risks.
These risks vary by industry; education is the sector with the biggest percentage of employees who don’t feel safe to speak up (34%), followed by healthcare (28%) and financial services (25%).
This pervasive culture not only threatens productivity and corporate reputations, but also endangers employees and their wellbeing, from students in the classroom to patients in healthcare settings – we’ve recently seen an example of the latter with the investigation into the Telford and Shrewsbury Hospitals.
Highlighting how important the freedom to speak up at work really is, when asked what they are looking for out of a dream boss, ‘good listener’ was selected as the most popular trait, with almost half (45%) selecting this attribute. There is a clear expectation that business leaders should prioritise listening to their employees.
The type of work contract employees have also has an impact; the survey found that over two fifths (43%) of people who work part-time don’t feel listened to, compared to just 34% of full-time workers. The rise of flexible working should not hinder our ability to listen to all employees, regardless of their work hours.
Hattie Roche, Co-Managing Director and Strategy Chief at www.thisishome.co.uk, said, “Our research proves that listening stands at the core of creating a healthy work culture, which is why we’ve included it as one of our six fundamental levers that should be prioritised to create great employee experiences.
“Creating a culture of listening will build trust and empower your employees, transforming your work culture and leading to a happier workforce, increasing your likelihood of attracting and retaining top talent in your industry. It’s essential that everyone feels heard, regardless of their seniority, hours ofr working or their background, and clearly our findings show that there’s a long way to go.
“I hope that this research can serve as a beacon of information and understanding when it comes to current employee experiences with feeling listened to and how improvements can be made, providing actionable strategies for creating healthier, more inclusive workplace cultures.”