Have you ever heard of radical listening?

I saw Kristin Henderson deliver an excellent presentation about the tools and techniques used to create a culture of radical listening at Bright Horizons.

Do you know Bright Horizons? They provide care services for every stage of life—from childcare to eldercare. They also manage educational programs for organizations. Bright Horizons partnered with Qualtrics to use employee feedback to inspire a workplace of wellbeing.

How do you inspire a workplace of wellbeing? It takes an intentional approach to listen, respond, and solve real-world hurdles to help employees thrive at work and beyond.

What is Radical Listening?

Bright Horizons is passionate about radical listening because their workforce is distributed across a thousand different sites. They compete in very tight labor markets and try to hire the best teachers, administrators, and a bevy of other positions while creating a diverse and inclusive environment. Radical listening gives them a competitive edge.

So what is this process all about? Well, radical listening is the act of asking employees how they feel about work and then addressing their concerns. Something so straightforward should be easy, but it’s not. Radical listening is both fundamental and revolutionary.

Kristen shared a story about how Bright Horizons partnered with Qualtrics to understand why their company’s 401(k) utilization was so low. Only 20% of their teachers were using our 401(k) program even though it was a sought-after retention benefit in the industry.

With no data, you might assume the 401(k) plan wasn’t advertised enough. Or maybe it was too hard to sign up. Or perhaps it didn’t have a match. But you would be wrong. The program was well-publicized, easy to enroll, and had a match. So, Bright Horizons asked their employees why they weren’t taking part in the program.

Through the act of radical listening — and analysis of both experience (X) and operational (O) data — Bright Horizons found that only 33% of employees were confident of their ability to create a household budget and only 23% believed in their ability to create a financial plan.

Forget about retirement. Most employees needed help with primary financial literacy.

So, Bright Horizons created a financial wellness program that included webinars, online resources, and personal coaching. The goal wasn’t to rope people into a 401(k) program. It was to help people feel financially secure. And it worked. Participants in the financial wellness program scored higher on a wellbeing scale than non-participants. They also showed increased confidence in their ability to create budgets and financial plans.

Radical Listening Solves Employee and Business Needs

Bright Horizon’s story is an excellent example of how technology can help HR leaders analyze data and solve problems that affect both employees and the organization.

So, if you want to help employees thrive within and beyond the walls of their workplace like Bright Horizons, it’s time to embark on a radical listening program. Almost 70% of people who intend to stay in their job for the next two years say their company listens and responds to feedback. And employees who say their company responds to their feedback ‘extremely well’ are 5x more likely to stay in their roles than even those who say they respond moderately well.

Are you interested in radical listening? Want to learn how to use experience (X) and operational data (O) to improve the overall health of your company? Don’t know where to start?

Make sure you connect with Kristin Henderson and check out the team at Qualtrics. With a little reflection and action planning, your organization can recruit and keep engaged workers, too.

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