After the listening sessions: towards insight and action

In our previous blog on listening sessions, we highlighted how crucial it is to sincerely listen to employees. Whether it is exploring topics that have come up in the employee survey or exploring an undercurrent of dissatisfaction and resistance to change, listening sessions are an important step. But once these sessions are completed, only then does the real work begin. After all, listening alone is not enough. The question is: what do you do with the insights gained from these conversations? And more importantly, how do you turn these insights into concrete action plans that bring about real change?


Identifying problems

The starting point is to identify the core issues. At Square Circle, we use a number of crucial “levers” that we include in our analysis as standard. These levers form the building blocks for developing effective action plans. In our experience, these are the three most important ones:


1. Organisational structure: how is the organisation structured? For example, a complex matrix structure can lead to communication problems and a lack of transparency between management layers.
2. Communication: How is communication within the organisation? Are employees able to find and share information easily? Is there a culture of openness and genuine listening? An inefficient communication system and a lack of connected communication can cause frustration and demotivation among employees.
3. Strategy: Are the organisation’s strategic goals clearly communicated? Does the organisation provide sufficient opportunities for personal and professional development of employees?


Reporting levers

The next step is to report the levers to the management team. But how do you convey the employees’ concerns? Experience tells us that this is best done not only in management language, but also with the literal wording of the employees themselves. Phrases such as “Nobody dares to ask a question because there will never be an answer anyway” come across much more strongly than general descriptions and therefore have a greater impact. Of course, employee privacy should be guaranteed by anonymising all data.


Pitfalls when analysing listening sessions

It is important to recognise that there can be pitfalls when analysing listening sessions. As an (HR) manager, you may have tunnel vision, which is understandable if you are working in your own organisation. Reactions such as defensiveness and disbelief are also common. This is why it is useful to work with an external, neutral partner such as Square Circle. Impartiality is important to get to the heart of the problem (or problems), as it allows employees to speak freely. But feedback is also best done as neutrally as possible.


Create action plan

The listening sessions and reporting provide a well-founded basis for drawing up concrete action plans and implementing the desired changes. The action points can relate to communication, personal development of people, strategic choices, etc. At Square Circle, we help organisations in every step of this process, from problem analysis to implementation of the action plan. Tailor-made communication is always the common thread. We will discuss how to do this properly in the next blog on messaging.


If your organisation is aware that there may be blind spots in the workplace and doesn’t really know how to discover them and what to do next, contact us. We are ready to help you communicate better and empower your employees to grow.