The Importance of Passive Listening

With macroeconomic uncertainty swirling, Employee Experience leaders are bracing themselves for a precipitous drop in employee satisfaction scores.  Even if your own company hasn’t been impacted by layoffs or faced widespread resistance to return-to-office mandates, your employees are likely feeling more anxious about their economic prospects now than they were a year ago.

In this job market, some companies are deciding that anxiety is par for the course.  These executive teams are content to take a “watch and see” approach, with the expectation that anxiety will lead to burnout and may drive some voluntary attrition before year’s end.

Other leadership teams are taking a very different tack – instead choosing to increase investments in employee experience in order to stave off the spread of dissatisfaction to their customers.  For these companies, maintaining employee satisfaction is paramount because they know eSat drives cSat.

The shift to hybrid work has prompted most organizations in that latter bucket to rethink their traditional employee listening strategy.  Active listening – typically done via semi-annual or quarterly employee surveys – continues to play an important role in understanding sentiment.  But forward-thinking companies are now augmenting those survey results with passive listening tools that allow them to understand the real-time behavioral drivers of employee attitudes.       

What is “Passive Listening”?

Passive Employee Listening is a method that measures work patterns in data from collaboration and other communication tools.  Similar to survey results, this data is anonymized and aggregated and then converted into metrics that are used to measure the drivers of employee well-being. 

Some examples of these metrics are:  

  • Hours in Zoom meetings per day
  • The size of collaborative networks
  • The frequency of 1-on-1 meetings with managers
  • Amount of focus time people have outside of collaboration
  • Amount of collaboration within and across departments

A Continuous Listening Model

Companies embracing “continuous listening” are marrying passive and active listening channels in order to get a more holistic view of the employee experience.  

Here’s how it works:

No alt text provided for this image

While composite metrics vary widely by company and problem area, we’ve seen some common themes emerge.

Example 1:

Low scores for eNPS (“I would recommend ACME as a great place to work”) are often driven by factors such as

1) infrequently scheduled 1-on1s with managers

2) longer average workdays  

No alt text provided for this image
  • ACTION PLAN A: Managers have more frequent 1-on-1s → 20% higher score
  • ACTION PLAN B: Improve workday hours via communicating guidelines on work-life balance and managers avoiding after-hours communications → 15% higher score

Example 2:

Employee sentiment around productivity is often driven by factors such as how many hours of Focus Time an average employee had per day.  

No alt text provided for this image
  • ACTION PLAN: Training employees on best practices around meeting habits and blocking focus time → 33% higher score around employees feeling more productive.

REquest a demo

Get detailed analytics on work and collaboration in your organization

Get Started