Are You Really Listening to Your Warehouse Workers?

You have a feedback program in place, but are you really paying attention to what your warehouse workers are saying? Practicing the art of “active listening” is an important step for companies to take to improve employee satisfaction and retention.

But what’s the difference between active listening and regular listening? Keep reading as we fill you in.

Using Active Listening to Strengthen Your Feedback Program

Having a feedback program is an important part of improving your company culture and boosting employee satisfaction. But it isn’t enough to simply have the program in place.

Once you’ve introduced the program and asked your warehouse workers to share their ongoing feedback, you have to actually act on that feedback. In order for workers to provide the feedback you need to keep your operations running smoothly, they need to know they can trust you to do something when they put in the effort to share constructive criticism.

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You build that trust when you take a piece of feedback, consider the problem or issue, and offer a meaningful solution, whether that’s a big or small action. Ready to jump forward toward the action part? First you need to drill into the “consider the problem” part.

In order to make educated and strategic decisions to improve working conditions and overall operations for your warehouse, you have to be willing to not only hear what your workers are saying but also to take time to consider it. 

In other words, when you’re reading a piece of worker feedback, don’t just listen (or read) looking for an answer — instead, try to get to the root of the matter at hand.

Not quite sure how to do that? These tips are a good place to begin:

  • Be decisive, but be methodical. As a leader, it can be beneficial to be decisive. But when making changes that impact your employees, such as those related to worker feedback, you’ll want to pull back a little on your habit of making a quick decision. You should still be decisive and take action, but do so after you’ve taken the time to explore solutions from multiple angles.
  • Get rid of distractions. When you’re visiting your WorkHound dashboard to review driver feedback, close out or minimize the other tabs on your computer — and put your iPhone upside down and to the side! You know that you should focus your attention on employees when you’re speaking with them in person, so do the same when you’re reviewing their feedback.
  • Read between the lines. When you’re talking with a coworker in person, it’s important to pay attention to nonverbal cues the person is giving you. And while you can’t see nonverbal cues like body posture through a piece of written feedback, make sure you’re paying attention to other cues to get the full context. Did the worker mention that they’ve tried to get a solution for their issue previously? Is any of the wording extra-detailed or passionate? Try to read beyond the words to make sure there’s nothing you’re missing.
  • Don’t assume. When you’re in a leadership role, you know that keeping workers happy often requires quick action to solve problems. But it’s also important to recognize that your own implicit bias may be influencing your perceptions. Don’t assume you have a good grasp of the problem. Ask yourself questions about the worker’s comment or question and run it by others, too, when appropriate. If you need more details, use the request-to-reveal option to reach out. The more you know, the better you’re equipped to solve the issue.
  • Reach out to confirm what you heard. If you are taking an action related to one worker specifically, reach back out with a one-time message to confirm what you heard him or her say. Then detail how you’re solving the issue. This provides the employee with a chance to follow up if you didn’t quite grasp the problem. If your action is bigger-picture and impacts the company as a whole, send out a broadcast to the entire team, sharing what you’ve heard from them and how you will move forward. Again, this reiterates that you were listening, confirms whether you heard correctly, and affirms (or helps you correct) your decisions.

Beyond these tips, what’s our best advice? Hone your active listening skills in every conversation you have! The more you practice being a good listener and truly hearing what others have to say, the better off your business will be. 

Ready to put your active listening skills to work? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can hel