How the art of listening can improve employee health and wellbeing

The notion of ‘listening to employees’ sounds simple enough but it isn’t necessarily always easy unless managers have mastered the art of listening. A lot can be learned by truly listening to employees’ concerns, comments and even criticism of the way things are done in the workplace. After all, employees are on the ‘front line’ and know more about their work processes or health issues than anybody else, and will be best placed to make comments on the reality of doing their jobs.

Unfortunately, some organisations may feel they don’t have the time or resources to listen to staff (and actually act on the information they are given). And some successful businesses may mistakenly presume that they simply need to continue doing as they are already doing in order to sustain their level of success.

Listening to employees can bring a whole host of benefits, including:

  • enhanced work processes and increased productivity as problems are solved more rapidly;
  • improved staff engagement from staff who realise that their feedback makes a meaningful difference;
  • better rapport between managers and employees based on trust and respect.

Healthy, happy employees will be more productive, but keeping staff healthy isn’t simply about helping people get better once they are ill, but about preventing illness in the first place. Communicating with staff, listening to their concerns and, importantly, taking their comments on board and acting on them, can encourage staff health and wellbeing and alert managers to potential issues before they develop. And staff who feel valued and equal to their managers are much more likely to want to stay healthy and remain at work.

For more advice on keeping staff healthy at work, or to find out more about supporting employees who are already ill, call the free Health for Work Adviceline on 0800 0 77 88 44.

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