Develop an Employee Listening Strategy: McLean & Company


Employee listening contributes to greater organizational and people outcomes, according to a new resource from global HR research and advisory firm McLean & Company. When organizations actively listen to employees, they are more likely to cultivate creativity, a sense of belonging, and a commitment to organizational goals.

Employees are raising their voices and expectations, but organizations are not always effectively listening, according to the latest research insights from global HR research and advisory firm McLean & Company. The firm has found that although many organizations understand the importance of employee listening efforts, employees indicate that they still do not feel heard, leading to a persistent gap between organizational listening efforts and employee experiences. This gap is amplified when action is not taken to address feedback and can lead to decreased employee trust and engagement. For HR leaders seeking to optimize listening efforts and develop an intentional and effective employee listening strategy, the firm’s new blueprint, Develop an Employee Listening Strategy, is now available

“Continuously asking employees for feedback without taking action only contributes to disengagement as employees lose trust in the organization’s listening efforts,” says Amanda Chaitnarine, Director of HR Diagnostics, Advisory & Data Insights at McLean & Company. “A purposeful listening strategy is critical to ensure employee listening efforts are intentional and result in meaningful action. It may seem daunting to address all pieces of employee feedback, so it’s important for organizations to remember that focusing efforts on executing fewer listening goals well is more impactful than spreading efforts over many goals. When employees know their feedback is being heard and acted upon, it will build trust and pave the way to expand focus to additional listening goals in the future.”

The HR industry resource explains that employee listening is the ongoing process of actively gathering, understanding, and acting on feedback and concerns voiced by an organization’s employees. The firm advises that the practice of employee listening is strategic when it aligns efforts with organizational strategies, prioritizes listening goals based on themes, and develops targeted activities to improve listening efforts. Recognizing the link between an employee listening strategy and the overarching organizational strategy illuminates where listening efforts have the most impact on the organization and its employees and fosters a transformative journey toward growth and success.

McLean & Company has created a four-step process for HR leaders to ensure the best possible impact of listening efforts on both the organization and its employees. The firm’s process, included in the Develop an Employee Listening Strategy resource, is outlined below:

  1. Define the driving need and purpose. Outline the driving need for an employee listening strategy, determine organizational readiness, and establish a steering committee. Next, connect the employee listening strategy with organizational and HR strategies and develop a listening strategy purpose statement.
  2. Complete a current state analysis. Evaluate and gather employee feedback on the organization’s current listening efforts and channels, then summarize the current state and outline common themes.
  3. Prioritize listening goals and develop activities. Translate themes into listening goals, outline activities required to support listening goals, and assess the impact and effort required to address each goal. Next, prioritize goals to action, determine which adjustments to existing channels are required to support activities, and select additional listening channels. Finally, review the frequency and timing of listening efforts to determine if adjustments are needed, select metrics to track progress, and create a profile to finalize each activity.
  4. Communicate the strategy. Create customized communications for the employee listening strategy and identify tools and training resources required by managers to support and sustain it. Then, plan to sustain listening efforts and devise an evaluation and iteration process.

McLean & Company reminds HR leaders that an employee listening strategy is not a linear process with a fixed end goal, but rather a strategic process that requires continuous iterations to ensure listening efforts reflect the shifting priorities of the organization.

To access the full resource, please visit Develop an Employee Listening Strategy.

To access McLean & Company’s complementary workshop, Gather the Employee Voice to Inform Engagement Action Planning, please visit Analyze and Act on Employee Engagement Data.

To attend upcoming free webinars on a variety of topics or explore the publicly available archive of recorded sessions, please visit McLean & Company’s webinars page.

To leverage the firm’s proven workshop approach to accelerate critical HR programs and initiatives, visit McLean & Company’s workshops page.

McLean Signature 2024

To register for McLean Signature, the premier industry conference for future-focused HR leaders hosted by McLean & Company from October 27 to 29 at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada, please visit the official Signature event page.

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