Global survey aims to dig deeper into listening to employees

About the author

Kevin is a co-founder of PR Academy and editor/co-author of Exploring Internal Communication published by Routledge. Kevin leads the CIPR Internal Communication Diploma course. PhD, MBA, BA Hons, PGCE, FCIPR, CMgr, MCMI.

I have been exploring the ways that organisations listen to employees over the past two years with internal comms colleagues, Mike Pounsford and Howard Krais.

It’s a project that has, to date, developed a set of core principles and identified a wide range of methods for good listening. You can download our two research reports here.

We’re now embarking on the final phase of the research, a global survey supported by the IABC Foundation, that seeks to better understand attitudes towards listening, to compare practice across different regions and to identify associations between listening and business outcomes.

To take the short, 10-minute, survey please click here.

Listening to employees has not always been considered to be part of the role of an internal comms manager. However, this is changing.

In the Gatehouse State of the Sector Report 2020:

  • 41% respondents have introduced round table listening sessions with senior leaders, enabling them to position themselves as advocates for the employee voice at the same time
  • 56% respondents are utilising floor walks and site visits to increase leadership visibility
  • 80% respondents are usually or very involved with encouraging two-way communication with employees

This data goes back to before Covid-19 and anecdotal evidence for practice during the pandemic suggests that organisations have, naturally enough, focused much more on digital communication. However, many of the internal communication diploma students that I teach are also reporting greater use of regular pulse surveys, which suggests that listening during the crisis is seen as an equally important component of good internal communication practice. It will be interesting to see if academic research supports this. A special ‘Internal Communication during the COVID-19 Pandemic’ edition of the Journal of Communication Management that I am guest editing with Dr Rita Men has already generated some fascinating papers.

Findings from the listening survey will be shared widely and we’ll provide a report to everyone who takes part as well as conducting regional webinars that explore the results in early 2021.

Please complete the questionnaire before November 23 here

The special ‘Internal Communication during the COVID-19 Pandemic’ edition of the Journal of Communication Management will be published in Spring 2021.