Join Pat Wadors for an in-depth discussion in this video How to listen to your employees, part of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
- Listening to my employees is probably the biggest joy and the biggest challenge, because you test out the trust, you give me information, and then what do I do with that information? So typical codification of information would be your employee voice surveys. We do it twice a year at LinkedIn. Some companies do it once a year, every two years, but we were high growth, and so not listening to you for a while would mean that I could have a big mess, and I like to perform, so I don't want a mess.
So I'm listening a lot. Jeff and I will go, did you read that line item 252 on the IT tools and that we could do better on blank, and I'm like, no, I missed that one! But did you see the other thing, you know, about they're not understanding our stock plan in India, could we explain this better? And so we use that as a way to get some information from our employees. I travel quite a bit around the world, I listen. I do all hands, I do mini lunches, I just sit and chat, I try to be as approachable as possible.
I think for leaders, your title can be a barrier, and I strive not to allow that to get in my way. And it's impossible to make it completely go away, but if I have a great team that, you know, creates that lightning rod of trust, then I'm, you know, better able to grasp and hear people. We survey new hires, we survey the talent that said no to us. How dare they, why did you not say yes! Like, what did we miss? Is it comp, is it the career path, is it the location, you didn't like the mug, what did we not do? Let me know.
And if there's something real there, that I think makes a big difference, I'll change, we'll listen. And I'm wildly transparent. So that scares people, but if you're transparent, it's a gift both ways. If I'm wrong, you will come and talk to me. So Carlos walks up, says Pat, I don't get it. My title seems wrong, or I think I should've done X, Y, and Z in this group, why didn't I get this promo? And it gives us a choice to have a dialogue, and in that dialogue I can tell Carlos, look, here's why you didn't get your promo, or here's why your title is the way it is, and this is why, and this is the scheme, and this is the methodology, and you're like, all right, that makes sense, that's logical, now what do I do to get to that next level? And then we have that conversation, so it's educational.
But if I'm wrong, and Carlos is right, and he tells me, I've done X, Y, and Z, and this is the criteria, and why not me? And I'm like, damn, you're right! Like, how did I miss that? How did we miss that? Like, there's more of you out there, how do I fix this either programatically or making us more aware, is it leaders, or in the process, and so being given feedback is a gift both ways. Educate, fix, and trust, is the underlying thing that evolves.