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“We don’t do employee focus groups because we’re afraid we won’t be able to implement what they ask for.”

I hear this a lot.

If this represents your stance on employee listening — know, I’m not throwing shade. The anxiety is reasonable. It’s just also misplaced.

I run dozens of Pulse Checks each year. And yes — sometimes there’s a unicorn ask — a wish for a new benefit or program or platform.

But also, always (like 100% of the time in my experience) there are impacts we can make with simple behavioral tweaks.

The important thing is to understand the impact they need — the change in experience. And then we can be creative in choosing steps to move us there.

  • If your teams are asking for more leadership development, but you don’t have $ or bandwidth for a formal program? Then launch some job shadowing or peer coaching circles or cross-team meetings. Or just help them carve out an hour a week to do some grassroots learning.
  • If your teams are struggling with overwork and more staff isn’t in the cards? Do some basic prioritizing, streamlining, or better collaborating to infuse some ease into the system.
  • If your teams are wishing for more recognition but building out a whole programs feels out of reach? Set up a simple thank you wall, invite leaders to write notes or do shout outs (or personal phone calls for the shy ones), or just remember to recognize all teams — even the back office ones — when the glory hits.

There are always things within your locus of control.

Not inviting the employee voice is the biggest risk of all.