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How listening skills can reduce absence

14 May 2019

How listening skills can reduce absence


It takes concentration and energy to really listen to someone and see the world through their eyes, without jumping in to give advice or start talking about your own experiences. So much so that an increasing number of companies are now proactively developing managers to become better listeners. The results include positive impacts on a range of factors, from absence rates to employee engagement levels.

Read on to find out how logistics and manufacturing company, Unipart, went about equipping managers with a five-step process to improve their listening skills. Plus find out which of the following 10 blocks to listening you’re most susceptible to…

Unipart manages pressure positively

When Unipart, a leading logistics and manufacturing company, set about putting in place a strategic wellbeing strategy, as part of it’s focus on employee engagement, training managers to really listen to employees, became a key part of the solution.

Deborah Astles, HR Director, Corporate Responsibility and Policy for Unipart, describes how a clear five-step process was used to develop managers’ skills in talking to employees about any issue with which they might be struggling. 

Read the case study

Which of the following 10 blocks to listening do you suffer from?

1. Comparing… as soon as someone starts talking about an issue they’re facing, you immediately feel compelled to start talking about what you, or someone you know did when faced with a similar problem.

2. Filtering… try as you might to give someone your undivided attention, you always find yourself listening to just some of what they’re saying and not the full picture 

3. Judging… you find it hard to listen to some people without dismissing what they’re saying because you’ve judged them and think they only have themselves to blame

4. Advising… you’re a bit of a problem solver and just a few words into the conversation you find you’re already making suggestions

5. Identifying… you can’t help but refer everything they’re saying back to your own experience

6. Daydreaming… you’re not really paying attention to them because what the person is saying is triggering your own memories

7. Mindreading… instead of listening to them you’re pre-occupied with trying to figure out what they’re really thinking

8. Rehearsing… your attention isn’t on the person speaking as you’re too focused on thinking up what you’re going to say next

9. Derailing… as soon as you feel bored or uncomfortable you change the topic

10. Placating… you pretend to listen by making supportive noises, ‘yes, really’ but you’re not actually listening

Critical to improving your listening skills and ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is first becoming aware of the above blocks and recognising when you’ve stopped listening. As with any other skill, it takes practice to become a good listener. Professional workshops and role-play can help.

Want to improve your manager’s’ listening skills?

If you would like help to equip your managers with the ability to talk to employees about any issue with which they might be struggling, we’d be happy to talk through the opportunities available for you to do this. Please call us on 01494 685315 or email us: [email protected]