Season 2, Episode 2

How to (really) listen to your employees

August 8, 2022

Episode details

The pandemic didn’t create the need for workplace transformation, but it definitely accelerated it. Listen as two experts in industrial organizational psychology discuss the importance of creating an employee experience that fulfills the evolving needs of the 21st-century worker, and how purposeful employee listening can have a powerful effect on an organization’s ability to create a superior experience for their customers.

What is industrial organizational psychology? It’s the study of how business shapes humans and humans shape business — or how to maximize systems and experiences across all parts of the talent lifecycle to encourage people to be their best at work. [3:30]

Why is the employee experience so important right now? A huge portion of the workforce is now actively thinking about what’s important to them at work, what motivates them, what brings them joy and satisfaction. Employers need to understand these desires — in terms of culture, environment, career development, etc. — so they can keep the employees they have and attract those outside the organization who are looking to make a change.  [6:00]

Is this all because of the pandemic? The big trends affecting the workplace now — with people wanting more flexibility, inclusion, diversity and autonomy — have been bubbling up for years. What the pandemic did was drive the need for solutions. [7:30]

Where does the customer come in?  The experience you provide your employees directly affects the experience they provide for your customers. Investing in employees and listening to them helps you embed your mission as their North Star, and results will follow. [10:00]

What does “employee listening” really mean? Employee listening is the process of collecting, paying attention to and responding to feedback from your employees. Employees will only invest their time in providing feedback if it is acknowledged and if you respond by taking what actions you can. You must also be sure to communicate the actions you’ve taken. [13:30]

What are some best practices for implementing an employee listening program? Generally, employee listening takes the form of employee surveys. You need to balance the frequency of your surveys with your ability to take action. As your process matures, you can increase the frequency, or add in feedback from the entire employee journey. Be sure you understand your infrastructure for feedback and taking action, as well as your culture. These will determine how quickly you can effect change. [18:00]

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Anna L. Hulett, Ph.D.

XM Scientist, Qualtrics

Anna Hulett is an Industrial Organizational (IO) Psychologist with over 10 years of experience leveraging data-driven insights to understand the interdependencies between business strategy and the employee experience, ultimately empowering clients across industries and organizational contexts to build a better workplace. Hulett's expertise in employee listening design and analytics, paired with her experience in strategic human capital management, allows her to provide comprehensive employee experience solutions across the employee lifecycle. She currently serves as the chair of the SIOP Salary Survey Committee, regularly presents at the annual international SIOP conference, and her research and thought leadership have been published in the Journal of Managerial Psychology, The Industrial Organizational Psychologist, and IO Psychology: Perspectives & Practice. Prior to Qualtrics, Hulett worked as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and as an applied psychologist at several Fortune 50 companies, including UPS and Johnson & Johnson.

Dora Clements, J.D.

Vice President of Digital Transformation, Unum Group

Dora Clements is leading change efforts for both the Unum and Colonial Life brands — and is specifically focused on improving the customer experience through delivering digital-first experiences inclusive of customer portals, process optimization and automation. Clements has been with Unum Group since 2013, supporting business and technology in various roles in the client administration space, including managing operational teams, supporting admin platform development, and leading transformation efforts.

About the host

Clare Morin headshot

Clare Morin

Content Marketing Manager, Unum

Clare Morin is the Content Marketing Manager at Unum and a journalist who's spent the last 20 years interviewing hundreds of thought leaders on topics ranging from wellness to culture, finance, human resources and technology. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and based in the U.S. since 2009, she brings a global outlook to the HR Trends studio.

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