‘Who’s listening?’, a new report by the by the International Association of Business Communicators, has found that while many organisations now say they promote a ‘listening culture’, many leaders aren’t practicing what they preach.
Instead, organisations find themselves prioritising external stakeholders at the expense of internal communications.
The report also suggests that the establishment of organisation-wide listening channels, processes and systems is an important aspect of developing internal communications as a credible strategic management function.
It also posits that leaders who hold face-to-face sessions to meet and talk without set agendas build employees’ confidence in management and trust in the business.
Among the key findings in the report, the IABC found that:
- Effectively listening to employees is seen to deliver a more competitive organisation, a greater sense of employee engagement and advocacy (reducing reputational risk), more trust in leadership, greater innovation and openness to change, resilience, learning and well-being.
- That fear is a major barrier to listening for both employees and leaders. Some leaders and managers avoid creating important listening opportunities because they fear exposure to uncertainty and questions that they feel they cannot but should be able to answer.
- Listening that focuses on strategic and operational goals will enhance traction for listening initiatives. This helps build leaders’ confidence in the importance and value of listening.
- Surveys need visible and transparent feedback and response mechanisms that demonstrate the impact that they are having. Surveys have become common place and in some cases a scorecard rather than a positive tool to increase effectiveness.
The IABC has said it will be carrying out further research this year that will explore good listening practice in more depth. Read more via Communicate Magazine.