Employee listening is the practice of collecting and responding to employee information and feedback through channels by which employees express their voice and engage with the organization. It focuses on mutual benefits for both employees and the organization, prioritizing trust and safeguarding individual privacy through data anonymization and aggregation.
An effective holistic listening strategy provides a multi-dimensional view of the employee experience by fostering a culture of feedback and action taking to improve employee engagement and support better business performance. In a recent study, we examined surveys from over three million employees across more than 200 companies in various industries. The findings revealed that employees at highly engaged organizations are 40% more confident that their feedback will result in action and 56% more likely to report continual process improvements within their organization. In the same study, we measured the stock price movement of these companies throughout 2022 and found that those with highly engaged employees outperformed the S&P 500 after a year of economic headwinds, highlighting the impact of seeking and acting on employee feedback.1
More listening doesn't equal better understanding
While it might seem intuitive to simply “listen more,” the key to effective listening isn’t about quantity, but quality. In our updated perspective on employee listening, we’ve focused on how this practice is evolving. Drawing from customer conversations, our research, and our position within a broader employee experience platform, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to building a holistic listening ecosystem.
Employee listening is evolving from a linear, programmatic activity to a dynamic, always-on ecosystem that empowers employees at all levels to achieve more. New employee feedback channels are helping shift the paradigm to offer valuable, near real-time insights into employee sentiment and work patterns. This shift moves us from a strictly programmatic rhythm of listening to a pace and range that can keep up with business demands.
Traditional listening strategies primarily benefit a select few, typically leaders and managers. This shift signifies a move towards benefiting many, emphasizing shared value across all levels. In 2023, we asked a sample of US LinkedIn users to select the type of insights that would empower them to do their best work. The top three insights selected were 1) insights about how their team feels about their work, 2) insights about their team’s productivity, and 3) insights about their own productivity; and these preferences varied by level. This underscores the value of thinking about not only how your listening strategy and ecosystem support your business, but how it empowers and protects your people.
Three key steps to building a holistic listening ecosystem:
1. Identify your channels and rhythms 2. Define who is a part of your ecosystem and what their needs are 3. Drive accountability to create shared value
The best listening ecosystems integrate various feedback channels, such as survey data and system data, to enrich your understanding of your workforce needs. These insights can help validate hypotheses, provide context on the employee experience, identify actionable steps, and predict when attention and support may be required.
Measure and improve engagement and productivity with Microsoft Viva
Microsoft Viva provides privacy-protected, data-driven insights and recommendations to help improve engagement and productivity. The workplace analytics and employee feedback solution helps gather feedback from your workforce to understand and respond to their needs by unlocking the combined power of insights from Viva Glint, Viva Pulse, and Viva Insights. It brings together data from various systems, including workplace patterns, organizational networks, and feedback from surveys across the employee journey to help you understand and take action.
1 Microsoft. The New Performance Equation in the Age of AI, Apr. 20, 2023
2 Viva People Science x LinkedIn Market Research Survey, April 2023
• Watch the recording from our live webinar on November 1st on building a holistic listening ecosystem HERE • Watch the recording from our introductory webinar on holistic listening that took place in May HERE • Use and share the infographic below with your colleagues and leaders to start conversations around how you can listen more holistically • Download the Holistic Listening eBook for more guidance and practical examples of building a listening ecosystem that meets your organization and people goals