Listening is your superpower

08 March 2024

Early birds get the worm this week at 106 Communications as we were treated to another installment of Haiilo’s Breakfast Club at The Hoxton in Shoreditch. The focus was all around employee listening and what stops companies from addressing workers’ concerns. With the lush spread of bacon bagels, fried egg on toast, and even pancakes, we just about tore ourselves away from the buffet table for the first talk of the day.  

This was brought to us by Howard Krais, co-founder of True, an employee engagement consultancy, and one of the author of Leading The Listening Organisation. He informed all of us that we are in fact living in an age of listening and that communicators needed to be the front runners in demonstrating what good listening is. More than this, organisations needed to make sure they were responding appropriately after listening. Better attention given led to higher productivity, reduction of attrition, and better overall performance. Importantly, Krais pointed to the fact that listening was not a core capability and that surveys were far too passive to respond to company concerns in an agile way.  

Picking up the baton was Haiilo’s very own Alex Henry who’s talked was more concerned in how to action these comms points once they were understood. He kicked things off by blowing through corporate comms buzzword bingo, demonstrating that simpler approaches to communications work far more directly than otherwise. Companies needed to set realistic and transparent expectations to avoid being vanity metrics.  

To this point, he looked at interpretations of different impact analytics; click through rate doesn’t mean read and read doesn’t mean understood. People within an organisation have discreet reasons for their feelings and behaviours, even when we have to use them as signals. To conclude, he emphasised the importance of qualitative feedback and that we as communicators should consider how much we ‘re listened to and how comfortable we feel expressing our concerns.  

After a quick coffee refill, it was time for Sharn Kleiss to delve into what the Gallagher State of the Sector Report 2024 truly meant for communicators. There was a consistent give and take between achieving comms success and how teams were going about it. Majority of professionals wanted more measurement when it came to comms but only 53% were using business cases in their comms for more strategic alignment.  

This seemed at odds with the fact that Gallagher found more business alignment made for more receptive, more agile, and more successful communications. By the end of Sharn’s talk, it was clear that comms needed to embrace business mindset and strategy to garner themselves the influence they need to make lasting impact on company culture.  

The roundtables were incredibly productive as the nitty gritty of what interpreting broader signals of behavioural data meant and how to personalise comms without making them to repetitive.  

It was a wonderful morning and gave us lots to use in our own campaigns as well as sparking curiosity for further insights.  

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