The Importance of Listening Skills in HR

/, HR Best Practices/The Importance of Listening Skills in HR
importance of listening skills header

Ensuring your employees are satisfied and feel appreciated is important to keep turnover low. Organizations need to focus on keeping employees happy and motivated in order to stay competitive in their recruiting and retention efforts.

One area that many employers fail to hit the mark on is instilling a sense of trust and confidence in leadership amongst its employees. Instilling a sense of trust and confidence in senior leadership is key to protecting your organization’s reputation and bottom line.

Although there are many different ways to build trust and confidence in managers and senior leadership at your organization, one simple way is to be a great listener.

Being a Great Listener—The Basics

Employees want to feel like their voices are being heard, rather than just being talked at. Experts agree that good listening typically comes down to doing the following things:

  • Not talking when your employee is talking

  • Letting your employee know that you’re listening with active facial expressions and verbal cues

  • Being able to repeat what your employee said

  • Eliminate distractions (papers on desk, phone, email, texting, etc.)

In addition to making sure you follow these suggestions, be sure to promote open communication so employees feel comfortable talking to you about whatever issues may arise.

Sample Employee Handbook Open Door Policy

(Company Name) uses an Open Door Policy. Basically, this policy means that all of the managers’ doors are open to all of the employees, and employees are free to talk with management at any time. Please consider the following in regard to this policy:

You are responsible for addressing concerns with a manager, from complaints to suggestions and observations. Addressing these concerns allows the company to improve and explain practices, processes, and decisions.

We recommend that you first discuss concerns with your immediate supervisor, but the Open Door Policy also gives you the option of discussing them with higher management and/or Human Resources. All of these parties will be willing to listen to the issue and assist in a resolution.

Listening to Employee Complaints

It’s inevitable that employees may have concerns or complaints that they’d like to share with you. When this happens, it’s critical that you handle the situation properly. Try to make every effort to put off your other obligations and make yourself available to hear your employees’ complaints. When listening to complaints, avoid making these mistakes or you could be putting your career – or business – in jeopardy.

  • Joking about the complaint with others

  • Rushing to judgement / taking sides

  • Firing the complainer

  • Texting, emailing, or other messaging to discuss the compliant with others

  • Ignoring the employee afterward in meetings, emails, and office activities

  • Suggest that their complaint is just a misunderstanding

  • Using dismissive phrases such as “I know how you feel” or “It will be alright”

Remember, listening to your employees contributes to overall satisfaction, improves trust in senior leadership and can strengthen retention. Make sure that good listening techniques are a part of training at all levels of management, leadership, and HR so all your employees can feel comfortable addressing and reacting to complaints in the proper manner.

Sources: SHRM

cathy siska coo

Cathy Siska
Chief Operating Officer