Workday Podcast: Using Employee Feedback to Create a Highly Engaged Organization

Discover the best practices of highly engaged organizations, and learn why organizational psychology is so important for getting the most out of employee feedback.

Audio also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

According to Gallup’s latest “State of the Global Workplace” report, only 21% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. To understand what sets highly engaged organizations apart, it’s essential to understand how different aspects of the employee experience contribute to overall engagement.

Our latest report, “Creating a Highly Engaged Organization,” reveals the characteristics of highly engaged organizations, providing companies of all sizes with ideas on how to develop a best-practice engagement strategy that targets the most impactful aspects of the employee experience.

In this episode of the Workday Podcast, I’m joined by Deborah Kuness, senior psychologist for Workday Peakon Employee Voice, to discuss what highly engaged organizations do differently, dig into the psychology behind employee engagement, and highlight the benefits of continuous listening.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Kuness, edited for clarity:

  • “I think one of the key things that we learned during the COVID pandemic period was that you can never over-communicate as a business. And that means that even if the strategy has needed to pivot, and even if as a leadership team we don’t yet know all of the details and how things are going to change—even if that’s not been worked out, it’s worth communicating that too.”

  • “We’ve known for a long time that offering growth opportunities, being clear about that, is a critical differentiator for businesses in attracting and retaining their talent—particularly now, where we have that increasingly employee-driven competitive market.”

  • “What we see from the research is that even if employees feel that they are rewarded appropriately, if they don’t feel able to talk openly about pay with their managers, then that can lead to disengagement and increase their turnover risk.”

You can find our other podcast episodes here. Be sure to follow us wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts, so you don’t miss an episode.

Ross Brooks: Welcome to the Workday Peakon Employee Voice Podcast. With the help of organizational psychologists, data scientists, and other special guests, we'll be exploring the latest insights from our database of over 200 million employee survey responses. You'll also learn about the theory behind employee engagement and real-world strategies that you can use to improve the employee experience within your own organization. Today, I'm talking with Debra Kunis, senior psychologist for Workday Peakon Employee Voice. Debra and I will be discussing some of the findings from our latest report, creating a highly engaged organization. We'll dive into some of the areas where highly engaged organizations excel, including the underlying psychology and some specific actions that you can take to improve employee engagement in your own organization.

Hey, Debs. Welcome to the Workday podcast. Great to have you here.

Deborah Kuness: Thanks very much for having me.

Brooks: My pleasure. So today, we're gonna be talking about how to create a highly engaged organization. Just to provide a little bit of context for the listeners, uh, we recently released a report that goes through some of the different ways that you can create a highly engaged organization. And I think one of the first things to cover, which is quite important, is what do we mean when we say that. So our analysis looked at survey response data from over 2 million employees across more than 500 organizations across different industries and regions. And we've defined a highly engaged organization as a company with an average engagement score in the upper quartile of this analysis, so 75th percentile or higher. And on average, higher scoring companies have 19% higher engagement scores. So when we did this analysis, there were a few things that came out. And obviously, Debs, this is where we're gonna lean on your expertise. But before we get into those key areas, maybe it would help if you could just give us a brief intro about yourself, what you do at Workday, so we can get a sense of who we're talking to.

Kuness: Yeah, sure. I'm Debs Kuness. I'm a senior business psychologist at Workday, and I specialize in Workday Peakon Employee Voice, our employee listening platform. My background has always been in psychology. I've always been a bit nosy about people, to be honest, which may have led me to my area of focus today particularly, which is obviously listening to all employees in, in as many organizations as possible so we can take relevant actions to improve the employee experience. So yeah, that's a little bit about me.

Brooks: Fantastic, thank you. One of the key findings from the report was that highly engaged organizations outperform in three key areas. And the way that we identified this is we looked at the 14 engagement drivers that we have in Workday Peakon Employee Voice. And we looked at the score gaps between high and low scoring companies. There were four that stood out in particular: strategy, reward, growth, and organizational fit. Reward is a little bit of a special case, so we might come to that later. But for the time being, let's start with strategy. And it would be great to get a sense from you. Why is strategy so important for employee engagement?

Kuness: We could probably talk all day about that, couldn't we? But there are probably a couple of key reasons. Firstly, I think, you know, where org strategy and directions really well-align to the purpose of an organization and when it's communicated really well in alignment with that, that enables employees to start to see more of the meaning behind their day-to-day work in terms of impact, which I don't think is something that we should ever take for granted in terms of the focus that it can bring to individuals in their work. Because being able to connect the work that I do as an individual every single day to what my organization is trying to achieve more broadly brings a sense of meaning, a sense of purpose, and also as a knock-on effect, more of a sense of belonging to people. And the power of having that sense of belonging is that it's also motivational, which is the key link to employee engagement here. And we know from research and theory that a key factor in driving motivation at work is task significance or task identity, as we call it. So being able to answer the question on a day-to-day basis, you know, does what I'm doing really matter? Is it helping us to meet our goals as a team? My individual goals? And, and crucially, does that then help what we're trying to achieve from a bigger picture point of view. But I think it really comes back to, you know, how we create the conditions for people to be intrinsically motivated, and strategy is a key part of that.

Brooks: So yeah, that intrinsic motivation, I mean, it sounds like that gives a little more autonomy to employees, in the sense of strategy might not always be clear, but when things aren't clear, you can take a step back and think about the strategy and, how your role plays into that, essentially, and just really find something that fits.

Kuness: Yeah. Absolutely. And I guess from a business point of view, in terms of, you know, why should we care about this, there's also a key impact in terms of the bottom line. We know again from the research that higher engagement links to higher productivity, great business outcomes. So there are really good reasons why businesses should care about getting that right for their people. And as I say, it's really about creating those conditions where employees have that absolute clarity on what we're doing here, the direction we're traveling in, so we can focus everything that we're doing really clearly as a link to that.

Brooks: Well, that brings us on to the recent—let's call them uncertain times. Whether it's socioeconomic factors, COVID, there's been so many different things happening. What are some of the challenges around strategy and really making that clear for employees during times of uncertainty? You can touch on actions as well, but mainly, how do we make strategy clear, and why is it so important right now?

Kuness: I think one of the most obvious challenges as we've seen in the last couple of years, in particular, is that where you have that rapid pace of change, the strategy of a business can need to pivot very quickly, depending on the context, as it has done for, for many through the COVID-19 pandemic. And when that happens, it can be quite difficult to make sure we're bringing our entire workforce along with us on that change and into that new narrative around what we're doing and how we're going to do it. Communicating the rationale, communicating the why behind that change, and repositioning how my individual work now will contribute to making that happen. And I think sometimes organizations can fail to nail that communication piece quickly enough. And the problem with that is that it leaves that kind of void or period of time where as an employee, I can feel a little bit unsure about, well, where do I fit now, and, and how do I add value, which of course, can be quite demotivational after a while, particularly because it can lead to that sense of a looser connection between me as an employee and my employer. And alongside that, we also know from a psychological standpoint that where you have a void of information or a lack of clarity on something, human beings will naturally tend to fill that void with something negative. This is how we're wired. It's called the negativity bias, and the danger with that is that then assumptions can start to be made and can be quite contagious. So for example, our leadership team doesn't know what to do, we don't have a strategy, and that's demotivational for everyone and a bit of a needless risk, really.

Brooks: That communication piece then, really important. It's obvious that strategy is gonna change, even just in the way that businesses operate these days—it's a constantly moving goalpost. But regardless of how good communication is or how clear strategy is, I can imagine there's going to be those times when you are pivoting, when you're trying to communicate that change or what that change is. But is there any way you can kind of fill that void or provide a foundation in those moments when you are trying to figure it out? I think in the report, we touch on things like mission and purpose, maybe values to some degree. Is there anything that would work to keep that base while you are adapting your strategy?

Kuness: I think one of the key things that we learned during the COVID pandemic period was that you can never over-communicate as a business. And that means that even if the strategy has needed to pivot, and even if as a leadership team we don't yet know all of the details and, and how things are gonna change—even if that's not been worked out, it's worth communicating that too. Because hearing, "We don't know yet, but we're working on it," is much better than hearing nothing at all. So I think alongside that, you know, leadership teams in organizations, individual leaders, need to continue to display that level of—or being willing to display that level of vulnerability, many instances of which we saw during the pandemic period. and you know what? Employees absolutely loved it. You know, they loved that sense of trust that was built when somebody is willing to be vulnerable, and that can happen very, very quickly. And I think that's one of the areas that we need to continue to take forward as leaders in organizations, particularly as we continue to navigate everything that's going on now from an economic point of view. And I think we touch on this in the report as well. But from a practical standpoint, when we talk about communicating, doing that via multiple channels, meeting people in their flow of work is so, so key, particularly when things are—as you say, remain so, so ambiguous right now for, for most of us.

Brooks: Yeah, definitely. So having a variety of communication channels is important, [be]cause if we're only communicating strategy once a quarter in a company all-employee meeting, again, that's leaving quite a big void. So, can you think of any particular channels that you would recommend? Do managers come into this as well to some degree? Do they play a role in this?

Kuness: Yeah. And I think that's absolutely about the manager's role in making sure that they are being clear with their team and their team goals and priorities and for individuals in terms of their development, which I know we'll come on to talk about shortly as well.

Brooks: To learn more about highly engaged organizations, how they approach employee engagement, and the lessons that can be applied to your own engagement strategy, download the latest report, which is available in the episode description below.

Yeah, definitely. Okay. So strategy is the first thing that really kind of sets these highly engaged organizations apart. And you've just mentioned it yourself, in terms of development. So maybe we can segue into that 'cause that was another area that really stood out was around employee growth, essentially, so learning and development, growth opportunities, defining a clear career path. So maybe you could give us some context around growth. You know, from the literature, from the research, why is growth so important to employee engagement?

Kuness: Yeah. And, and this is a tale as old as time, isn't it? You know, we've known for a long time that offering growth opportunities, being clear about that, is a critical differentiator for businesses in attracting and retaining their talent, particularly now, where we have that increasingly employee-driven competitive market. And we also know that employees' perceptions of growth opportunities in their businesses also link to concrete business metrics such as attrition, for example. So we see in our own benchmark data that perceptions and scores around growth opportunities in my business are significantly lower in those who then go on to leave an organization shortly afterwards as opposed to those who stay. So the impact of this is real. And from a psychological standpoint, one of the reasons for that is because as human beings, we like to see and feel progress. We enjoy feeling that sense of self-mastery and competence that comes from learning and enabling ourselves. And again, that drives, ultimately, intrinsic motivation, which is the foundation for engagement. So it's never been more important, but it has always been important.

Brooks: For sure. I like to know that I'm progressing each day, you know? Seeing that you're getting better each day, it gives you that intrinsic boost. And we mentioned that reward is maybe not a tricky subject in these times, but there's a lot of external factors, things that are outside of an organization's control. But if increasing compensation or giving people more benefits isn't always an option, is growth something that can act as a stand-in for that? Is growth something that can help to alleviate that pain around reward, at least in the short term? I mean, long term, this is probably something that needs to be addressed. There needs to be a plan for it. But how does growth factor into that reward element?

Kuness: Yeah, and this comes down to, I guess thinking about the psychological contract, you know, feeling like there's that level of fairness and balance between what I expect from my employer and what I signed up to when I joined the organization in comparison to, what I feel I'm getting back and what the organization's getting from me. So it's a fine balance that on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis can shift and change. Now of course, we are operating in an environment right now where it might be quite challenging to just say, "Okay, we'll increase your financial reward because you're not satisfied with that, alongside career growth." But really, we can think of reward as a hygiene factor in terms of engagement. And what we mean by that is it's an element of the employee experience that doesn't necessarily elevate levels of engagement, but you can become dissatisfied if it's not in place, if you aren't perceiving that it's where it should be from a fairness point of view. So we're talking here about reward more as a maintenance factor. And it's not just reward, but also things like the conditions that I work within, the holiday benefits that I have, and all that good stuff. That's not to say that it's not important—far from it. And I think it's something we need to think about carefully. But interestingly, what we see from the research is that even if employees feel that they are rewarded appropriately, if they don't feel able to talk openly about pay with their managers, then that can lead to disengagement and increase their turnover risk, as well. So it's really about the element of transparency and open conversations with our managers about pay, about reward, that plays a fundamental part here in how much my perceptions will change and how much that will impact how engaged I am. But growth is a fundamental part of what somebody might perceive as reward alongside the financial side of things, as well, particularly newer generations coming into the workforce. We see a stronger sense of that being much more important, particularly earlier in your career, which makes sense, right? But it is about having that balance.

Brooks: Yeah, that's really interesting, actually. You mentioned it yourself, but transparency, again, came up there. So with strategy, you might not have all the answers. But by being transparent, you turn it into a conversation and you help to develop that trust. And similar to reward, you might not be able to increase someone's compensation in the moment. But if you can have that discussion around how pay levels are set, what the plans are for the future, and then switch that to growth—as you mentioned, reward tends to happen as a result of reaching certain milestones, achieving goals, business outcomes. So they are interlinked. And I guess if you can't talk about that and make it clear how one feeds into the other, then it's very easy for employees to come to their own conclusions. And, as you mentioned, they might not always be that positive.

Kuness: Yeah. Exactly.

Brooks: So growth is obviously an important aspect of improving employee engagement, as you mentioned, not just the hygiene factor. It's not just about meeting the expectations of employees. It's something that can actually lead to increases over time. So how can organizations make growth part of an ongoing conversation? How do we bring that into the day-to-day?

Kuness: Yeah.I think a really important factor in terms of conversations about growth is that dedicated, separate, discrete time that can be reserved for those conversations to be really meaningful. So I'm talking about maybe not cramming it into the usual weekly one-to-one half hour, for example, but dedicating time to do it properly and very deliberately. I think there's also a real need to move away from the once or twice per year big meeting about development mentality, about performance, about growth, to much more continuous conversations over time in the same way, you know, we would advocate for more continuous listening over time, just a different mechanism. And I think that way, managers and employees can always have an eye on the work an employee is doing every single day is helping them to realize their growth ambitions, to learn and hone the skills that are important for the role in the future, and to progress in terms of their development. And you know, that may well be enabled through, you know, openness to internal mobility in an organization, the opportunity to take part in things like mentoring programmes, for example. You know, learning takes many different shapes and forms and happens incrementally over time, so I also think that conversations around it need to be a bit more creative, open, and ongoing, as well, to meet individual and, and team needs and expectations.

I'd also say that the, you know, provision of, of feedback is also a big part of ongoing learning and development. And of course, a massive component of that is the assumption that your managers have the necessary skills to have high-quality development conversations with their people. But again, I don't think that's something that we can take for granted. So that side of leadership and management capability in terms of having more of a coaching style, being able to ask great questions, providing constructive, meaningful feedback, providing the right support to individuals should really be prioritized by organizations generally to make sure that we have leaders who can fulfill this, need for people, and do it really well.

Brooks: Yeah. Absolutely. And I love the fact that all of these topics are intertwined. But we talked about the fact that the kind of external circumstances of doing business changes so quickly that to think you can have a performance review or a performance conversation once a year and that be enough, I think it, it really misses the point that quarter by quarter, your goals could be changing. The needs of the business could be changing. And in one quarter, you might need to focus on-- let's say we work in product. You might have an interest to learn more about how the UX research happens, for example. And that might not be your core role. But the needs of the business are there, and if your manager's having those conversations, they can facilitate that. And that might not immediately lead to, well, I'm, I'm doing this. Can I get paid more? But suddenly, you're learning something that maybe you wouldn't have thought to bring up in a conversation that's happening once a year. 'Cause it's so difficult just to remember what's happened in a year, and even planning a year ahead feels almost impossible, especially in the current climate.

Kuness: Yeah. That's a great point.

Brooks: From there, I think what we could talk about is the, the third point that's come up in this analysis, which is organizational fit. And for me, this feels like a much more foundational aspect of employee engagement. Some people seem to think that's just hiring someone who's very similar to you or someone you'd enjoy working with, you know, someone that you might wanna go to a bar with. But I know there's a significant body of research behind this. So, let's just start with that simple question. What is organizational fit, and why is it important?

Kuness: Yeah. And again, we could probably sit here for an hour and talk about all the different definitions out there and how it can be seen. And we'll come on to a little bit of that, but essentially, organizational fit is about the degree to which employees feel like the culture and the values of their organization match their own values and preferences in terms of ways of working. So you can almost see it in terms of a compatibility between an organization and an employee. In reality, the definition of this term varies quite widely depending on who you talk to and where you read your articles, and get your learning from. There are also, as you've alluded to, some challenges that come with the term as well, that we need to be careful about. But essentially, it is about having that alignment between, fundamentally, the values that I live my life by and how I see the organization operating and the behaviors that are displayed within the organization that align with that as well.

Brooks: So, what are some of the benefits of this? I'm no stranger to some of the theory—when I'm looking at this, or thinking about this, especially when you look at it through the lens of values, in my mind, it really opens up the freedom to have more diverse conversations, you know? If you're aligned on values, disagreeing on certain points or challenging others, there's a lot more room for that [be]cause fundamentally you know that we are aligned around the same values. Those feed into our company's mission. So this isn't a contest, or this isn't trying to get to what someone really thinks. We all know we're on the same page. So when I think about it, I think about a diversity of ideas. But I'd love to get your perspective on what some of those benefits are and how organizational fit can really benefit an organization and help them to be more engaged, essentially.

Kuness: Yeah. And I think the foundation of what you were just talking about is that implicit level of trust between an organization and an employee, which is actually the foundation of everything. You know, we talked earlier about being able to give and receive feedback. You can't do that without trust. We talked about manager conversations and levels of support and how that impacts engagement, for example. Again, you need a level of trust for that to play out how you'd want it to and realize benefit. And if we're talking here about alignment in fundamental values, you know, there's research out there that demonstrates that that close alignment between individual and business values does lead to higher levels of satisfaction and engagement and commitment and everything that you might want to see. And I don't think it's that surprising, really, 'cause it is about that compatibility and comfort, you know, in the same way that you'd think about maybe a personal relationship with a friend or a partner, how comfortable am I within this environment to work in the way that I'd like to work, to be who I am as an individual. And all of that also drives that, that sense of belonging and connectedness to the organization, as well. Like, we're all on the same page here. We want the same things. We're striving for the same goals. And in that way, it kind of links back to what we were talking about in terms of strategy as well.

Brooks: Yeah. Makes perfect sense. I can imagine that it would take a little bit more time to get to the right values, and to really put those in place, compared to something like strategy and growth, maybe, where you can bring managers into the fold. Do you think that organizational fit and establishing those values—does it take a bit more time? Is it maybe something you have to think more of the long term, or? Love to get your take on that.

Kuness: One of the key things to consider there is about, as I say, that alignment in terms of what we say we value, so what's written on the wall, but then how we operate and the behaviors that we recognize and reward internally. Where that alignment is present, it's arguably much easier and more likely that we have people in our organization who are supportive of the strategic direction and of, of how we achieve our goals. But of course, you know, both company values and strategy need to be embedded in everything that we do, all the way through the employee life cycle, not just in terms of when people join us and we're trying to make sure that that person will be successful within our business and help us to achieve what we want to achieve, but well beyond that as we think about how we develop our people, and those sorts of things as well.

Brooks: As you say, it's one thing to join a company based on some well-defined values on a careers website, and then the day-to-day being very different from that experience. I can imagine that's one way to very quickly erode trust with an employee. And on that note, I'd love to know, are there any particular challenges on a psychological level when it comes to organizational fit or trying to get people aligned on values, essentially?

Kuness: So depending on how you define cultural fit or organizational fit, you know, we need to make sure that we're not in the process of promoting more of a homogenous organization which maybe is less diverse and less inclusive, whether that be by accident or not. And I think that's particularly relevant when you consider recruitment into businesses, because we know that, you know, unconscious biases can exist and can creep into some of those decision-making processes. And actually, I've seen in the literature that some organizations instead are now talking about cultural add in that context as opposed to cultural fit, which is much more representative of bringing in more diverse thinking. And all of that seems to be more about bringing in great people to drive your culture forward, and maximizing the potential of your business. But I think this is probably a topic that I suspect we could discuss for a long time, even maybe as a separate podcast. There's a lot-- there's a lot going on in there, I think.

Brooks: Yeah. Well, it's, it's been a great conversation so far, and we'd love to have you back. And as you well know, there's just so many different ways you can go with the psychology around employee engagement. It really is a fascinating subject. So yeah, we'd love to get you back—might have to hold you to that, Debs. 

Love the idea of culture add. But in terms of culture and characteristics, those types of things, let's move on to some of the specific characteristics that define highly engaged organizations. So when we did this analysis, there were a few things that stood out in terms of how these organizations actually approach employee engagement. Some of the things that stood out is that they asked for feedback more often. So highly engaged organizations, they're-- 45% of them are surveying on a quarterly, monthly, or weekly cadence, versus just 26% of the lower-scoring companies. Another thing that highly engaged organizations do is they embrace difficult conversations. We talked about the need for conversations about reward and growth and those being regular. And they might not always be the easiest conversations. But having them can translate into higher levels of engagement. These highly engaged companies are 18% more likely to acknowledge employees leaving a low score compared to their peers. So it shows that they really lean into this. They're looking for opportunities to find a solution, essentially, rather than just seeing negative feedback and thinking, "I'm not sure what to do with this."

And the final aspect of highly engaged organizations that really stood out in this analysis was that these companies empower managers to act. So managers at highly engaged organizations have 31% higher action completion rates compared to less-engaged companies. So again, in Workday Peakon Employee Voice, this means they're setting actions. They're creating a plan of action based on the feedback they're getting from their team, employees across the organization, and they're actually following through on that. So these things are all important, and they all actually feed into a core piece of the methodology or at least how we think about employee engagement at Workday Peakon. And that is continuous listening. And another way that we refer to it is closing this feedback loop, so getting the feedback and then making sure that that results in action. But on the point of continuous, this thing I think is really clear, that these highly engaged organizations, they are listening more often, they're showing that they're listening, and they're really taking action on that feedback. So I would love to get your take on this. You've probably worked with organizations all over the world, helped them go from maybe a more annual approach to this continuous listening approach. So it would be great to A, just get a sense of what is continuous listening and what are some of the things that organizations can do to start moving towards that approach.

Kuness: Yeah, absolutely. A big advocate of continuous listening. Survey frequency is the basis of that. But that can also look different for different organizations. I think often there is a fear about moving away from a more traditional standardized approach, maybe an annual approach to listening to people, to something more frequent. And the reality is that lots of businesses are ready to make that change but at different paces. So lots of organizations that I've worked with are, you know, moving from an annual approach to more of a six-monthly approach. Some are moving from a quarterly to a monthly, and some are even moving from a monthly to a weekly. But there isn't a one size fits all. It very much depends on the culture of the organization, the makeup of your teams, whether you have people in the organization who are sat behind a desk versus out in the field. You know, those pragmatic considerations remain really important and need to be worked through. But survey frequency, as I say, is a big part of being able to make this shift and can actually be the enabler to making a cultural shift that underpins that change. And we are seeing a general trend of moving away from the traditional annual approach and methodology. And I think a lot of that's been driven by what we've seen in the last couple of years. So I'll be honest with you. You know, when the pandemic hit, I and many other people who work in employee listening had that fear of it's gonna go to the bottom of the pile. You know, this is gonna be seen as a nice to have that we just can't afford to think about right now. What actually happened was the exact opposite. organizations realized that in such an ambiguous situation, they needed to hear from people more than ever before to check in, to see how people were doing, and to have them feed in the ideas for how the organization was going to progress and move forward in a very testing time. So It's really interesting to see how that has elevated the conversation about employee voice. And I think particularly, given the pace of change we're seeing even now, you know, data gathered through a more traditional methodology is often redundant very quickly afterwards, which makes it very difficult to make business decisions from. You've talked about the stats already. I think the impact of listening more speaks for itself there in terms of organizations really showing that they care, really showing that they value employee input. And in itself, having that mechanism in place on a more frequent basis drives engagement because it demonstrates that level of care and wanting to understand how people are doing. So in and of itself, even before you start acting on the data, that's doing a job on its own.

Brooks: It's amazing to hear that that is how companies reacted. As you said, it could have very easily gone another way. But to me, again, this just very clearly points out the importance of trust and the fact that showing that you're listening, showing that you care, is, is just helping to build that trust. You might not have all the answers, but you're still-- you're working on that employee-employer relationship. And I think one thing there I've heard come up a few times is continuous listening. When people hear the word continuous, that can be intimidating. But as you mention, there is no one size fits all. That could mean going from annual to six months or six months to quarterly, whatever it might be. I mean, one way I think about it is just that idea of continuous improvement as well, it's listening and trying to take those little steps bit by bit, and over time they start to add up. And before you know it, you are a highly engaged organization. And it really doesn't take that long to get there. It's just about willingness, transparency, and seeing what you can do, essentially.

Kuness: It's really interesting that you say that. Because, you know, for, for any listening strategy to be effective, of course, there needs to be action. And managers play a key part in that. You know, they are the people who practically can have the biggest impact on their people on a day-to-day basis. So one of the other things that is a feature of, you know, higher-performing organizations in terms of engagement and listening is that managers are both empowered and enabled to do that really well. And I think this is about moving away from a more HR-centric, HR-owned approach to engagement and listening and starting to devolve that responsibility down through the layers of the organization. But with that, it's also about shifting mindsets and redefining what do we mean when we say action. Because I think historically, there's been this idea of action plans and PDFs and these big, hairy initiatives that are gonna be months in the making and gonna take a long time to really impact individuals. The reality is that surveying more frequently doesn't mean huge actions on a more regular basis. It is more of that continuous improvement philosophy where little and often has the bigger impact, actually. And the beauty of that is then managers can very easily track in real time how are the actions I've implemented landing with my team at a local level. And then they can pivot and be more agile where they need to be. I always allude to the difference between having a big exam at the end of the year that feels massive and a big effort and takes a lot of energy and perhaps a lot of people don't look forward to versus incremental coursework throughout the year, which is much more bite-size, much more practical and pragmatic, and actually much more achievable overall.

Brooks: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I know which I would prefer. Um, on that note, I think you've, you've summed it up perfectly. Continuous listening, why it's important, why it's really not as intimidating as it might sound on first listen. And again, we could go into this. We could probably do a whole podcast about this, all the different ways that we've helped organizations to do this in their own business. The success stories, the results, there are so many of them, and there are more and more every day. So it's probably good that we leave it there. But it's been a fantastic conversation. I really appreciate you coming on the Workday Podcast. It's been a pleasure. So thank you.

Kuness: Thank you very much.

Brooks: Thank you for joining another episode of the Workday Podcast. We hope you're able to come away with some ideas that you can apply in your own organization. And don't forget to follow us wherever you get your favorite podcasts. And remember, you can find all our episodes at

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