How can you be more bold as a people leader?

As a people leader, you take pride in guiding your entire organization towards success as a team. Naturally, you’d like your employees to be on board with your strategic decisions…co-creating solutions that allow the entire organization to move forward together.

So, are they with you?

Maybe the right question is: Why should they be? If you don’t have a system in place that allows you as a leader to listen actively to the authentic voice of your workplace, your employees won’t feel invested enough to listen actively to you.

It can be unnerving to let go of conventional feedback tools like the annual engagement survey. In truth, many leaders have spent years trying to create engagement, only to end up simply measuring it.

What do these surveys create? Lagging indicators that can’t effect change in a timely manner. Plus, a workforce that dreads the time it takes to complete them. Isn’t it ironic that the most used tool in the toolbox to engage people can disengage them so rapidly?

Worst of all, employees have become hardened to the fact that when they do commit their time and valuable insights to surveys, employers don’t act on their feedback, at least not visibly. This leads to low participation rates. Peter Cappelli and Liat Eldor from Pennsylvania’s Wharton School comment on this phenomenon in their recent Harvard Business Review piece, “Where Measuring Engagement Goes Wrong.”

“A second major problem with engagement surveys is that many employees don’t respond to them because they don’t believe management will do anything with the answers. One survey found that 70% of employees do not respond to surveys and nearly 30% of them think they are useless.”

Bold people leaders want to do more than just measure their people, and they’re willing to take a leap and go further to activate their talent.

In our modern era and at our organizations, active listening is not the norm. But that’s rarely because we as humans and leaders just don’t care about listening. Outdated systems and processes keep our people strategies pointing backward, and away from our organizational North Star.

So, what are the first steps towards a bolder people strategy?

  • Add a transparent, anonymous crowdsourcing tool to your tech stack.
    • An authentic dialogue through a platform that doesn’t allow for biased answers and does not create a fear of judgment from leadership will quickly net you amazing wisdom that already exists in your organization and allow you to have conversations at scale.
  • Create cross-functional teams to delve further.
    • The best ideas don’t all stem from the leadership table. You hired smart people for a reason, and when they sense there may be trouble in the waters, they’ll often be able to determine the best solutions.
  • Bring on the town halls!
    • Nothing creates more urgency on action than asking questions on a particular issue and then discussing the issue and possible solutions in a town hall. Let employees participate in prioritizing the agenda for the meeting and the actions to take afterward and you’ll create trust and belonging. Hold these town halls routinely with your whole staff, as well as segmenting off smaller groups for more tactical conversations.
  • Give your people a chance to respond to ANYTHING important to the organization.
    • The beauty of going outside the typical engagement survey is that you can address anything, literally anything going on inside your organization. Try using positive inquiry to find out what employees appreciate most about your new Employee Buddy program, or ask how they feel about the new parking situation. Ask away, and then act on their prioritized crowdsourced responses. You’ll be building on a series of incremental wins that will make a huge difference to your culture.

Ready to hear more? We’re working with top-tier companies and people leaders bold enough to embrace Employee Voice, and we’d love to share their successes. Get in touch to request a demo today.