Employee Engagement is an increasing factor in 2022.   UK job vacancies are running high and the labour market is tight.  Alongside the business challenge of attracting staff a significant proportion of employers are also experiencing increased employee turnover and/or difficulty in retaining their current people.

Why do people leave?

People leave jobs for many reasons.  For some the attraction of a new opportunity outside your organisation ‘pulls’ them away from their current job role.   Others feel a ‘push’ toward seeking out alternatives because they are currently dissatisfied,  by a lack of career opportunities or organisational change.   Often the decision to move is a combination of both ‘pull’ and ‘push’ factors.

Maintaining a good relationship with their line manager is a key element in keeping staff in your employ.   Employee engagement is at the heart of this relationship.  Research directly links good employee engagement to higher levels of productively, motivation and retention.   Indirectly there are links between employee engagement and increased customer satisfaction, employee innovation & efficiency, and improved health and safety performance.

Understanding what motivates staff is core to building effective employee engagement.  By truly listening and responding to what employees have to say you will strengthen their performance and company loyalty.

What does it take to listen?

Effective listening is active listening.

Show you are listening:
  • Give your complete focus to what’s being said.
  • Don’t interrupt the speaker.
  • Wait for pauses in the conversation to ask questions or make comments.
  • Provide feedback by paraphrasing and thoughtful questions.
  • Defer your judgment.
  • Give a measured response.
  • Don’t be afraid of silence.

Non Verbal Communication

Non-verbal signs of active listening can also show the speaker you understand what they are saying.   Use the following and create the right environment to say you are listening.

Eye contact  can be seen as a sign of respect. The amount of eye contact you may what to give will depend on the situation. If a speaker appears nervous, don’t be overbearing with your eye contact. However, if they initiate it, maintain a decent amount of it.

Positive Body Language
    • Smile as someone is speaking to encourage them to carry on.  It will help them feel at ease. Smiling shows you are open and ready to hear what the speaker is telling you.
    • Nod in a positive way to show you agree or understand them. When nodding be subtle and not overly noticeable.
    • Sit up straight and lean slightly forward.  This is how someone who is fully engaged in a conversation looks. If standing then try to keep your body and feet pointed toward the speaker and not facing away. This indicates you are invested in the conversation rather than looking for a way out of it.  The same applies to staying still and not fidgeting.
    • Mirroring is a non-verbal cue you may not even notice when fully focused on a conversation. It happens when the listener feels sympathy or empathy with the speaker leading them to automatically reflect the body language and facial expressions of the person they are talking to.
    • Be aware of the speaker’s body language and act accordingly.

Using these skills will help you be a good listener, and a thoughtful work colleague or employer.  They will also bring the benefits of improved employee engagement to your own work, your teams and your business as a whole.

Click Types of Listening for your Life and Work to read more about listening.

For guidance to develop an employee engagement or listening programme email us at Solution22 – HR Consultancy Services or telephone 020 7549 1634.