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8 Reasons to Listen to Your Employees

By Sonya Buck, Australia


Gone are the days where managers spoke and employees just listened.  For one thing, Millennials and Gen Y are taught to question things at school and university.


For some, it’s a no-brainer that we should listen to our employees, but sometimes we might get busy or become too distracted.


Here are just a few of the reasons why we should listen to our employees:

  1. Staff Engagement:   If you don’t listen to your staff, they may stop putting forward their ideas and lose motivation.
  2. Employee Retention: Listening to employee concerns can have a positive impacts on retaining your key staff members.
  3. Avoid a catastrophe:  Your employees may be able to signal to you where something is about to go wrong or business is on the decline which allows you to take action early on.
  4. Develop Trust – Listening to your employees gives you (and them) the opportunity to build your relationship.
  5. Being upfront – Your frontline employees in particular will be able to give you insights into what customers are thinking and by listening you can improve products and services.
  6. Training gaps - Employees may be trying to communicate they don’t know enough to complete their work to the required standard.  Keep an ear to the ground in order to ascertain if training is needed.
  7. Signs of burn out – You may not get this feedback directly, but listen out to hear if any of your staff are overworked.  Remember as well as the health issues which may affect them, if you had to replace their knowledge and experience it could really impact the business.
  8. A happier and safer workplace.  By listening to verbal and non-verbal cues you can spot issues such as workplace bullying, discrimination and unsafe work practices.

Should you ask for employee suggestions or feedback, be prepared to hear the good, the bad and the ugly, as it won’t always be positive.


Unfortunately, I have seen firsthand the financial impacts of employers not listening.  Early in my career, I tried to communicate to management that if we went in a certain direction the outcome could be disastrous for the company. I wasn’t heard and we ended up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.   This was an unforgettable experience which helped me to be a good listener when I was promoted to management.


Take the time to listen to your employees, it can have many benefits.