Listening to your employees could be the trick to leveraging collective intelligence to build a high performing workforce.
Having engaged employees is the best way to ensure consistent performance from your workers, and one of the easiest ways to get engaged workers is to listen to them.
That’s what a recent Hays study concluded, finding that 93 per cent of more than a thousand respondents say that having their voice heard, and experiencing a diversity of thought in their workplace, were key factors to engaging them. According to respondents, if you want better problem solving and innovation in your business, the best approach is to utilise the collective brainpower of your employees.
Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, believes that when employers listen to their workers, they open their business up for innovation and growth.
“A workplace that respects and encourages different ways of thinking works more innovatively to bring new ideas to the table,” he says. “Recognising the value that each person offers can lead to greater creativity and improved business productivity.”
But how do you provide the kind of diversity and inclusion that engages employees? Listening to a variety of opinions from your workers will not only makes them feel more invested in the business, but it will also give you a greater field of view when tackling problems and challenges.
Here are four strategies for increasing the diversity of thought in your workplace:
1. Open it up
Let your employees know that their voice matters. By showing them their opinion is important, you ensure that they will contribute their unique knowledge and skill set to solving workplace issues.
2. Understand your employees unique strengths
One of the main benefits of diversity is being able to utilise the key differences that each individual brings to the team. Make sure you learn what their strengths are and how to use them.
3. Encourage constructive conflict
When people share their opinions, there’s bound to be some conflict. Respectful differences are a great way to push people to think outside of their own experience. This encourages innovation, and is a great identifier for diversity of thought. Just make sure the discussion remains on-topic, respectful and constructive.
4. Ask for criticism
One of the best ways to ensure diversity of thought, and a great way to keep yourself grounded as a workplace leader, is to ask for criticism. Asking questions like “What have I missed?” or “What parts of this don’t make sense?” are great ways to ensure you are practically leveraging the collective intelligence and experience of your employees.
Creating a workplace with diverse thinking will generate a positive and powerful culture of engaged workers, unlocking your business’s collective intelligence in the process.
“In a workplace that embraces diversity of thought, employees can be themselves, know that differences are valued, feel they can share different perspectives, are more willing to provide an honest opinion, and will contribute to new ways to solve problems,” says Deligiannis. “This leads to new approaches and creates an environment where all employees can thrive and perform at their peak.”