How to develop an employee listening strategy?

What is the power of employee listening? Employee listening or collecting data points on how employees feel and what they want is the backbone of any employee engagement strategy. Companies have given employees surprise days offs and long weekend breaks across industries in remote working environments. Why has this become a trend? Simply because companies made an effort to keep a check on their employees. Through regular feedback and pulse check processes, employers could understand that their employees feel burnout and need a break.

An IT firm gave its employees a 'No work' period where they asked their colleagues to switch off from work for two hours where they should not be engaged in any work activity. This allowed employees to rejuvenate and reset. The IT firm realized that their employees needed regular breakthrough check-ins with the help of their large network of HR business partners and decided to give a break to their entire staff. This is not the only incident that took place during the post-pandemic era. Many organizations made similar moves with a single motive to keep the well-being of their employees in check.

What is employee listening?

Employee listening involves allowing employees or a platform to share their thoughts and opinions regarding work, relationships at the workplace, and office culture. It is about actively listening to the concerns and problems of employees and taking actionable steps to work on them same. Therefore, companies must practice active listening, genuinely paying attention to the details of the problem, and further taking steps to resolve the issue.

How to develop an employee listening strategy?

There are multiple ways to keep a check on the pulse of your employees. It is essential to use a mix of traditional and technology-enabled methods of collecting data points on the mood of your people. The primary objective should be to check on various topics such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, communication with managers, team dynamics, workplace culture, career growth opportunities, and overall well-being. Let’s look at some tools that companies can deploy as part of their employee feedback strategy?

Employee engagement scores

Many companies conduct an employee engagement survey which helps gauge employees’ engagement and motivation levels. This score helps in understanding your people’s mood and evaluating the organization’s overall culture. Now, companies have also started gathering the happiness score of their workforce. In addition, some companies have set up mechanisms that help them understand how happy their employees are. For instance, a huge Indian conglomerate with multiple businesses has an employee happiness framework to gauge how content their employees are and what they can do to improve their culture.

Employee pulse surveys

Progressive companies conduct periodic surveys, either monthly or quarterly. Earlier, these surveys were paper-based, but now we have online surveys through Google Forms. Such surveys can also be conducted through the employee self-service (ESS) portals. The questions of these surveys are designed to collect employee feedback on various topics such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, communication with managers, team dynamics, workplace culture, and more.

One-on-one conversation with the manager

Many companies have an open-door policy where employees can have a one-on-one conversation with their business leaders. Organizations must also train their leaders to have good active listening skills. After the conversation, the employee should feel heard and leave with confidence that the organization will take appropriate action to address their concern. Leaders must continuously sharpen their listening skill.


Human Resource Business Partners (HRBP) can be very helpful in gauging the pulse of employees. Each HRBP is assigned to a particular function and takes care of the people function of that specific department. For instance, organizations that follow a structure where they have HRBPs will have an HRBP for the sales function. This HRBP will be in regular touch with the sales head to understand the people-related challenges of this function. Since HRBPs are in constant touch with their stakeholders, they will have an excellent understanding of the people in their concerned department. For example, in 2021, a fintech start-up gave their employees a surprise day off after receiving feedback from their HRBPs that their staff felt burnout.

Exit Surveys

Many progressive companies conduct exit surveys where employees are made to fill out a form with questions to understand why they decided to leave the company. This works as a reality check for organizations where they can identify flaws in their HR policies and the overall office environment.

Companies can adopt or use any tool to collect data points to understand what their employees want or get a sense that their preferences are changing. But the biggest challenge that most companies face is to keep the process genuine. Employees must be empowered to share authentic feedback.