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One Simple Thing All Businesses Can do to Become Better Places to Work - But Most Don't

There’s one simple thing all businesses can do to become better places to work - but most don’t.

Listen to your people.

And I don’t mean running a survey and sharing the results.

I mean sit with and listen to your people.

If leaders do this it’s more likely that managers will too.

In the UK we have a tendency to turn to the internet to find solutions to our problems.

But here’s the problem, even if the solutions you find are good, if you haven’t showed willingness to listen to your people first, they’re going to resist buying in to whatever it is you’re providing.

Whenever I run engagement workshops I get attendees to score areas the areas of engagement 1-10.

The consistency lowest scored area on this chart is ‘employees are listened to and involved early’.

There’s a variety of reasons why we don’t do this two of the main being:

We have a false belief that when we’re in leadership positions we should have all of the answers

Business practice developed during the industrial revolution was very top down

So if you want to see an instant boost in engagement levels in your team or company, set aside 60-90 minutes in the next few weeks and ask your people ‘what can we do to be a more engaging workplace/team?’.

You’re going to get valuable insight from doing this that you will from reading any blog or hiring any consultant.

If you hired me, one of the first things I do is something you can do for free - I listen to your people.

Maybe you’re hesitant to run this kind of session because:

  1. You don’t know where to start or how to run it

  2. You’re worried nobody will input

  3. You’re worried about the feedback you might get


  1. You can download the free guide below. On page 10 there’s guidance on how you can run a listening group. There’s also a chart you can print off to support this -

  2. If your team is quiet email them in advance and ask them to think about three ideas for how we can make #### a better place to work in advance.

  3. If you’re fearful of feedback I guarantee that’s holding you back from being the best manager/leader/business you can be. Embrace feedback and don’t take it personally if it’s negative. Don’t try to defend - just listen - it will make you better.

My final bit of advice would be to encourage ideas on what the individuals can do as well as the business.

Creating a culture of entitlement where the company does everything for the employee isn’t a good thing although lots of businesses are taking this approach in response to ‘the great resignation’.

A simple way to summarise engagement is a mutual commitment between a business and employee. Both parties are committed to supporting the growth of the other.

Us humans have the natural tendency to be negative. When I run workshops on this and people are responding to the question ‘How can we improve engagement at [company]’ i draw a line in the middle of the whiteboard.

I put all of the suggestions for the company to improve on on the right, all of the suggestions for the individuals on the left.

When there is - as their usually are - loads on the right but not on the left I highlight this and ask what they can do.

Have you done this with your people before?

What’s stopping you from doing it with your people in the next 1-2 weeks?

I’d love to hear you’re stories.


Want to find out how to make your business/team a happier place to work?

Take the Better Happy Business scorecard now - it's free and takes 2 minutes.

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