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Listening to Employees' Concerns


I recall vividly telling an MD about my intentions to have counselling sessions with employees and this MD dismissed that request instantly while insisting I do no such thing. Well, the psychologist in me could not abide by such a directive -- I still made out time to listen to their concerns and counsel them. To me, being an HR Manager was beyond discharging technical duties, it was also about being empathetic. I had a duty, within the limits of my professional capabilities, to to make the burdens of employees lighter.

As regards the topic, it is important to mention that there is a difference between listening and hearing. Hearing requires no effort (insofar as you are not hard of hearing) while listening requires a lot of effort because you have to consciously bend your energy and attention away from distractions in the environment to focus on the person who's talking to you and what he or she is saying. You will need to focus on both words and body language to have a deep understanding of what he or she is saying. You listen with both ears and eyes. It's hardwork and a sign of respect. 

As HRM professionals, one fundamental mistake we'd make is to see employees as nothing but embodiments of knowledge, skills and abilities. Employees are more than that. They have aspirations, worries, personal struggles, concerns et cetera. These go with them everywhere they go to...these have impact on their concentration at work. It is not enough to say they should get a grip on themselves and focus on work because that's why they are being paid. You need to show empathy...make out a little time to listen. Fifteen (15) or thirty (30) minutes can make a lot of difference. You may not have the answers to their problems but you can surely make a difference by listening to their concerns. Remember to be patient and see things through their eyes in order to have a deep understanding. Offer kind words. Let your engagement be guided by professionalism and mutual respect. Lest I forget, when you are done, don't run to Twitter or LinkedIn to score points with this kind act of yours. Every time you use a charitable act to score points, you miss the essence of such acts and lose yourself in the process. 

Image Credit: Google Images


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