One of the best ways to make employees feel important and valued is to actively listen to them. Not only does it make them feel like an intricate and fundamental piece of your organization, but it will increase overall cultural morale and productivity. The #1 factor in workplace miscommunications and the decline of employee engagement is a lack of listening. Not considering what your people have to say or making assumptions could become an irreversible mistake that could cost you big time. Alongside learning to be focused and present while engaging with your employees, here are three things that you can improve to let your employees know you’re listening.

Encourage Their Feedback

This is the first step in letting your employees know that you genuinely want to hear what they have to say. Providing them with the opportunity to submit their feedback or be a voice at the table is a big stepping stone in making them feel like an important part of the decision-making and implementation process. Administering surveys regularly can help you maintain a clear vision of what your employees need to remain happy, productive, and ultimately, want to stay employed within your organization. Happiness creates longevity, and you will want to retain your best people.

Focus groups are also an avenue that allows employees to add value and meaning by digging deeper into certain subjects. Encouraging and maintaining employee one-on-one discussions with your organization’s leadership gives your people a chance to talk directly to either yourself or any of your team managers and openly discuss any topic. That’s why I always continually advocate for having an open-door policy. It helps your employees feel comfortable enough to voice their opinions or ideas, with or without a designated time to do so.

Ask Questions & Confirm What You’ve Heard

Step two involves approaching listening as an opportunity to learn, and don’t be afraid to be curious. Asking questions gives your employees a chance to express themselves fully, and it should lead to better information and better understanding. Asking questions helps you get clarity, making sure that you don’t walk away thinking that you know what the other person meant when, in fact, you may not. The questions you might often ask naturally evolve from the conversation, but even simple open-ended questions can help. For example, you might ask, “Is there anything else I should know that I didn’t specifically ask you about?”

While the answer to this is often no, you might be surprised if it opens up a tilt in the conversation. Not only do the questions themselves yield information that can lead to a better understanding, but also the process of asking your employees these questions helps you increase engagement. Thoroughly engaging with your employees will often help you make better decisions with better outcomes.

Be Empathetic

The final step is surrounding your actions with empathy. No matter what you do, be empathetic. With empathy, you perceive information through your employee’s experience, in a more subjective way. When you’re actively listening to those in your organization, you’re listening with the intent to really hear them and understand their concerns. Be sure to give them your undivided attention and not just wait for them to complete their thought with the intent to respond and immediately provide a solution. Taking the time to reflect on what you’ve heard and come back with a game plan will make your employees feel like the time they took to confide in you with their feedback was equally mirrored with a thought-out response and action process.


Always listen carefully to the facts and pay attention to your employee’s feelings and body language when engaging in discussions. Encourage them to provide feedback by setting them up with opportunities to share their ideas and concerns, whether that be an open-door policy or regular meetings and surveys. After every conversation, confirm what was said and ask questions as needed so that everything laid out on the table has a full clarification. Listen in a nonjudgmental manner and practice empathy with each interaction. Practicing these three things will always lead to better understanding while letting your employees know you’re listening.