1st Edition

Leading the Listening Organisation Creating Organisations that Flourish

By Mike Pounsford, Kevin Ruck, Howard Krais Copyright 2024
    220 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How organisations listen, learn, and adapt to their environment drives success and long-term sustainability. This book focuses on internal stakeholders and how employers can use the voice of their people to improve decision-making, innovation, and performance. It is about why listening to employees matters and how to do it well.

    Leading the Listening Organisation reveals not just the practices and processes that underpin effective listening but also the leadership characteristics and mindsets necessary to create resilient organisations that feel fair to work in, where people want to speak up, and where new ideas can flourish. It is based on extensive international research with leaders across over 500 organisations before, during, and after the pandemic. The authors bring decades of international experience and expertise in communicating with employees across public, private, and third sector organisations. Rich in practical tools, processes, and working frameworks and brought to life with case studies and insights from leaders and communicators, this book provides a complete guide to understanding the barriers to, and implementation plans for, leading a listening organisation.

    This comprehensive guide will resonate with leadership, internal communications, human resources, and organisational development professionals.

    1. The advent of the listening age  2. Why listening matters  3. The barriers to effective listening  4. How to listen  5. Digital listening  6. Employee resource groups and activism  7. The role of leadership  8. Developing an employee listening climate  9. Leadership listening: A new approach for an era of uncertainty


    Mike Pounsford founded Couravel, an organisation development consultancy specialising in change communication, in 2001. He works internationally for private, public, and third sector organisations and is an IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator.

    Kevin Ruck is the co-founder of PR Academy, the largest provider of Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) qualifications and the editor of Exploring Internal Communication, also published by Routledge.

    Howard Krais co-founded True, an employee experience and engagement consultancy, in 2023 following several senior roles in large global organisations and two years leading the UK chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

    "In this new book, the authors rightly highlight how difficult, yet valuable, it is to genuinely listen to employees. As labour markets tighten, flexible working becomes the norm and Zoomers gain prominence in the workplace, organisations that invest in effective internal communication will gain a competitive advantage.”

    Steve Shepperson-Smith, President, Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) for 2023

    “When I was a child, my mum used to say ‘you have two ears and one mouth for a reason’; how right she was. Continual listening needs to be part of every organisation’s DNA. Only by listening can we prioritise where energy is needed to improve employees’ experiences, and, as a result, maximise our potential both as individuals and as an organisation.”

    Alison Ramsay, Director of Employee Experience, BAE Systems

    Leading the Listening Organisation: Creating Organisations that Flourish connects the many disparate threads of successful change, communication and engagement and is a must-read for anyone responsible for the employees’ contribution. Having had the privilege of working with Howard Krais, Mike Pounsford and Kevin Ruck I was expecting this book to be well-referenced and anchored in academic theory. But what it does so well is connect the many foundation stones necessary to create organisations that flourish. It truly is the advent of the listening age and for anyone responsible for any aspect of communications this is a great time to be in the profession.”

    James Harkness, Partner, HarknessKennett

    “In an era of polarisation of societal opinion and values, effective listening is more important than ever in organisations. This book explains how organisations can listen and engage with their employees, building trust and navigating change. Howard, Kevin and Mike share a lifetime of organisational experience on how to create a fair and inclusive workplace where employees feel heard and valued in the ‘listening age’.”

    Adrian Cropley OAM, Founding Director, Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence

    “Active listening to employees is critical for organisations seeking to create a positive workplace culture and meet their goals. This means not only hearing employee feedback but also engaging with them to address their concerns. A listening culture can enhance employee engagement, trust, and collaboration. This insightful book offers practical strategies for anyone interested in enhancing their organisation's communication and performance.”

    Jennifer Sproul, Chief Executive, Institute of Internal Communication

    “As the noise around our working lives increases, this is a very timely investigation into how better listening and authentic conversations will deliver lasting engagement in our organisations.”

    Marc Wright, Founder, simply-communicate

    “With the changes that have taken place over recent decades, employees engage and commit where they recognise alignment in purpose between themselves and their organisation. Gone are the days of tell, replaced by an increased requirement to listen. This book is a great guide for leaders and HR professionals at all levels to understand what listening truly means”.

    Simon Smith, Chief People Officer, Aston Martin

    “This book is essential reading for those looking to unleash the power of listening to turbo-charge their organisations. Better listening forges deeper understanding, connection and empathy. In short, it proves those who listen harder learn – and achieve – more.”

    Katie Macaulay, Managing Director, AB; host of The Internal Comms Podcast

    “Who doesn’t like to be listened to?! Listening is perhaps one of the most under-valued skills in the workplace and yet, as this book demonstrates, one that makes a huge difference to wellbeing, engagement and performance. Drawing on lots of great research and evidence, this thorough and practical book provides essential reading for anyone who wants to help organisations, and the people within them, listen better.”

    Hilary Scarlett, International speaker, consultant and author on change management and neuroscience at Scarlett & Grey

    “Internal communication is a two-way process; practitioners need to hear what staff are thinking and explain it. This book looks at the sources and methods which are increasingly common practice offering the clear advice you would expect from highly experienced practitioners Krais and Pounsford. Ruck’s distillation of the most up to date academic research means this accessible read will be invaluable to students and professionals alike.”

    Liam FitzPatrick, Author and communications best practice advisor

    “This volume presents an intelligent analysis of a phenomenon that continues to be as critical as it is yet to be fully grasped: what happens when corporations have to listen – and listen meaningfully? The authors offer a most valuable perspective from the sphere of managerial practice which will contribute to a more systematic understanding of this complex area in an age when fundamental questions have to be both asked and heard.”

    Bogdan Costea, Professor of Management and Society, Lancaster University

    “Active listening is hard, but aided by examples from the authors’ own research this insightful book explores how leaders who do it effectively deepen connections and make for more meaningful and productive organisations. This book is an important addition to anyone’s shelf and helps address the post-pandemic expectations of communication having greater genuine dialogue.”
    Russell Grossman, Head of UK Government Internal Communication Profession