Uncover Employee Insights via the Power of Observation in Your Organization

Chad C. Harvey
3 min readJan 17, 2024

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In today’s fast-paced business world, staying in touch with employees’ needs and aspirations is crucial for any leader or executive.

Traditionally, we’ve relied on surveys and questionnaires to gain insight into the inner workings of our organizations. But what if there’s a more profound and telling way to understand what’s truly going on with our teams? In my latest YouTube video, I suggest a refreshing grassroots approach: observation.

Embracing the Jane Goodall Method

Jane Goodall, the renowned primatologist, changed the way we perceive and understand our closest relatives in the animal kingdom — chimpanzees. She did that by immersing herself in their world. She observed their behaviors and carefully examined their actions.

I encourage a similar anthropological approach when it comes to understanding your organization’s dynamics. I invite you to embrace the Jan Goodall method within your workplace. Instead of shoving a microphone or a survey in your employees’ faces, take the time to observe what’s happening in the workplace.

The Power of Observation

Observation might sound simple, but its impact can be profound. When you observe your employees without them knowing, you gain unfiltered insights into their behaviors, interactions between individuals and teams, and the dynamics within your organization. Here are a few compelling reasons to consider this approach:

  1. Authenticity — Survey responses might be influenced by various factors, such as peer pressure or the desire to present a positive image. Observing your employees in their natural work environment allows you to see their authentic selves and gain a deeper understanding of their day-to-day experiences.
  2. Identification of Patterns — By consistently observing your team, you can identify patterns of behavior, communication, and collaboration. Recognizing these patterns can help you make more informed decisions about organizational changes, team dynamics, and resource allocation.
  3. Employee Engagement — Observation can help you pinpoint areas where employees might be disengaged or facing challenges. By addressing these issues proactively, you can enhance employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.
  4. Trust — Demonstrating your genuine interest in your employees’ well-being and experiences by observing them can build trust within your organization. When employees see leadership is willing to invest time in understanding their perspectives, it fosters a more open and transparent workplace culture.

The Big Takeaway

The next time you want to truly understand what’s going on with your employees, consider taking a step back from the conventional survey approach. Instead, become an observer. Dive into the world of your team members, watch their interactions, and listen to their unspoken words. By embracing the Jane Goodall method, you can gain valuable awareness and information that will empower you to make informed decisions and create a more engaged and thriving organization.

Without further ado, watch my video as I elaborate on the power of observation in understanding your employees better. It’s time to unlock the hidden potential within your organization by seeing, rather than just hearing, what your team has to say.

Originally published at https://chadharvey.com on January 17, 2024.

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Chad C. Harvey

Strategist, Executive Coach, Vistage Chair, servant leader, domiciled itinerant, dispassionately passionate, occasional gourmand. #ChadHarvey