Employees are the backbone of any organization. All too often, though, their opinions and ideas aren’t prioritized. In fact, according to Forbes, one of the main reasons that employees quit is because they get tired of being overlooked and ignored. As an employer, it’s your job to create an environment where everyone has a voice. This will help you retain great employees, build a healthy workplace culture, and ultimately benefit your facility across the board.
Here are 4 ways to help your employees feel heard:
1. Make yourself available.
If employees aren’t comfortable coming to you, it shuts down communication and creates a fearful, potentially resentful environment. On the other hand, maintaining an open-door policy where everyone – no matter their title or seniority – can voice their thoughts will create an open, honest channel of communication between staff and upper management.
2. Gather feedback in different ways.
Not everyone will feel confident speaking up in big meetings, so it’s important to provide different ways for people to share their opinions. To make it less intimidating, you can try organizing small focus groups or creating an online chat forum. You could even send out anonymous surveys for employees to share their opinions privately. Everyone should have a way to communicate that makes them feel comfortable.
3. Keep it positive.
Whether or not you agree with a coworker’s opinion, it takes major guts for them to speak up. If someone voices a concern or critique, remind yourself that getting defensive serves nobody. You should always acknowledge what they say and respond to it thoughtfully. If you immediately jump to dismiss or argue, others might be dissuaded from speaking up in the future. As a leader, it’s your job to keep discourse calm, cool, and respectful.
4. Reward good ideas.
Make sure to recognize employees who think of smart solutions or contribute to the company in any meaningful way. Send them a nice email, give them a shout-out during a meeting, or gift them a bonus for their hard work. Showing your appreciation goes a long way toward keeping hardworking staff happy.
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