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Develop an Employee Listening Strategy

Optimize listening efforts to ensure the highest impact on people and the organization.

  • The gap between organizational listening efforts and employee experiences is amplified when employees provide feedback and action is not taken.
  • Without a clear purpose to inform listening efforts, feedback collection becomes superficial, leading to a failure to use insights, which ultimately undermines trust and engagement.

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Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Employees are raising their voices, but organizations are not always effectively listening. A purposeful listening strategy is critical to ensure employee listening efforts are intentional and result in meaningful action.

Impact and Result

  • Develop an employee listening strategy to set the foundation for effective listening. Ensure efforts are intentional and aligned with organizational strategies by developing a clear purpose statement.
  • Improve the organization’s listening efforts through a current state analysis to uncover common themes. Translate common themes into listening goals and develop activities to support the achievement of listening goals.
  • Support the employee listening strategy by equipping managers with the tools and training to sustain employee listening efforts. Monitor the strategy and make adjustments over time as employee and organizational needs shift to keep the strategy relevant.

Develop an Employee Listening Strategy Research & Tools

1. Define the driving need

Outline the driving need, determine organizational readiness, establish a steering committee, align with organizational strategies, and develop a purpose statement.

2. Complete a current-state analysis

Inventory current listening efforts and channels, understand overall listening effectiveness, gather employee feedback, and summarize common themes.

3. Prioritize listening goals and develop activities

Translate themes into listening goals, outline required activities, assess the impact and effort required and prioritize listening goals, determine if adjustments to existing channels are needed, review frequency and timing of listening efforts, select metrics, and create a profile to finalize each activity.

4. Communicate the strategy

Create customized communications for the employee listening strategy, identify tools and training resources required by managers to support and sustain the employee listening strategy, plan an evaluation and iteration process for the strategy.

Develop an Employee Listening Strategy preview picture

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 8 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Define the driving need and purpose.
  • Call 1: Discuss the driving need and organizational readiness for an employee listening strategy.
  • Call 2: Identify potential steering committee members and discuss connections between organization and HR strategies to inform the listening strategy purpose statement.

Guided Implementation 2: Complete a current state analysis.
  • Call 1: Plan to inventory current listening efforts and channels and gather employee feedback.
  • Call 2: Review findings from the inventory and employee feedback and uncover common themes.

Guided Implementation 3: Prioritize listening goals and develop activities.
  • Call 1: Explore themes to identify listening goals and outline required activities to support goals. Then discuss the impact and effort required to address each goal and prioritize.
  • Call 2: Determine if adjustment to existing channels is required, select additional channels to incorporate, and plan to complete the Employee Listening Calendar.
  • Call 3: Review the Employee Listening Calendar to discuss frequency and timing of listening efforts, select metrics to track progress, and plan to create a profile to finalize each activity.

Guided Implementation 4: Communicate the Strategy.
  • Call 1: Discuss creating customized communications, plan to use nudges and provide tools and training to managers to sustain the listening strategy. Then plan to continuously monitor.


Areej Ghazal, Wellbeing Coordinator, Rogers

Fiona Hamann, Founder & CEO, FionaComms,

Youssef Kamar, Director, Consulting Advisory, Info-Tech Research Group

Valarie Owen, Chief Human Resources Officer, Amica Senior Lifestyles

Michelle Preston, Manager, Change and Talent, Ontario Power Generation

Amjad Qalawi, Vice President, Operations, A BPO Company

John Slifka, Senior Manager, Talent Strategy Programs, United Airlines

4 anonymous contributors