A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

Listening to your employees boosts morale

Posted by Janet Smith on January 30, 2009

Yesterday I wrote about the one question every boss should ask employees: What can I do to make your job more rewarding, interesting, and satisfying? And at the end of that post, I said that today I’d write about other important questions bosses should ask employees.

I really did plan to do that. But last night, someone told me about something her boss had done that is so terrific, and compliments yesterday’s topic so well, that I just have to write about it.

This woman works for a boutique hotel with about 100 employees. She said that like many other businesses, the hotel dramatically scaled back its employee holiday festivities last month. Apparently, some employees were not too understanding of the situation and the boss caught wind of some complaints.

Rather than dismiss the comments as trivial, or respond with anger because, after all, we’re in the middle of a recession, this boss was concerned. So concerned, that he wanted to hear exactly what the employees were thinking. (And when I say “boss,” I’m talking about THE boss—the general manager of the hotel. There are a number of VPs and lower level managers and supervisors at the place, of course. The majority of employees report to one of those people.) He was, I’m sure, aware that the complaints about the holiday party were symptomatic of other issues.

So this guy took the time to meet one-on-one with every single employee. Imagine! I mean, even if he only spent 10 minutes with each employee it would take nearly three days, allowing for a few breaks and lunch! And I’m sure many of these individual sessions were longer than that.

The woman telling me about this said that this guy just really wanted to know how employees were feeling about their jobs and what it was like to work there. He in essence asked them, “What can I do to make your job more rewarding, interesting, and satisfying?”

She said, “Since he’s talked with everyone, the mood is a lot better and everyone seems a lot happier.”  I’ll bet they are! Morale increases almost instantly when employees know that how they feel matters. And in this case, the fact that the person at the top cared enough to talk to everyone sent employees the message that every worker wants to hear and that immediately makes them want to work harder: We value you, and you’re important to us.

My next post: more important questions to ask your employees!

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1 Comment

  1. Marie Adams

    Inspiring story, thanks for letting all of us in on the secret of the one question every boss should ask their employees. I spread the word on the power of listening over at Thoughts from Training Time. It’s a simple way to boost morale that can work in any workplace. Thanks again!