Keeping employees engaged is essential for the success of any business, because it not only helps staff members feel valued, but also productive and satisfied in their given roles. In fact, they might even outperform employees who feel undervalued and unheard. As their leader, you can ensure that your employees are aware that their opinions are valued simply by asking them what their opinions are and listening to what they have to say.
Otherwise, how do you determine whether an employee is unhappy with their role, and is thinking about leaving? Or if they have an idea that could increase sales for your company? To this end, employee surveys are still one of the best ways to gather feedback and make sure your employees are satisfied, or that you're doing what it takes to ensure that they will be in the future.
If you want real insights, you need to ask questions that go beyond “How are you?” and “Is there anything you need?” Asking the right questions can help spark innovation and ensure that staff members show up as their best selves. Here are 15 questions you can ask your employees to help forge trust, strengthen connections and create a regular cycle of honest feedback.
Question 1: Where do you see your career a year from now?
This question can help you figure out if your employees are content in their current positions or if they have things they want to pursue that they aren't getting the chance to take on right now. In addition, it may also provide you with clues on whether they're happy at work or if they might be looking for something else.
However, this question is best asked once the culture of providing honest feedback has already been established at your firm. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting answers that the respondents believe you want to hear, rather than the truth. Your people need to feel safe in that they can provide honest feedback without any repercussions.
Question 2: Who encourages your development at work?
While robust professional relationships can improve employee engagement in myriad ways, they also positively impact an organization’s performance and output. Employees who feel supported tend to invest in their professional development in order to create real value for their employer, by improving work efficiency, upgrading their skill sets, engaging with their peers to maintain a flexible mindset and creating a positive culture. Asking this question can show you that the staff member feels they have positive mentors. And if the answer is "no one," then you know it's time to ensure that they do have some good mentors on the case.
Question 3: Can you think of anyone you might refer to work here?
This question can tell you a lot about how well your people ops strategy is working, and whether you have a culture that is flourishing. If your employees aren't eager to refer others to your organization, that could mean they aren't happy there.
You could follow up by asking your employees why or why not, and let them add their own reasons in an open-ended manner.
Question 4: Do you have everything you need to get your work done?
This question reveals whether your staff members believe they have the right tools to get their jobs done efficiently and effectively. It is important because not having the right tools can cause frustration and sometimes even detachment. This is particularly timely to ask right now, as needs are changing frequently while people are working from home or working in hybrid situations where they're in the office one day and back at home working remotely the next.
Question 5: What can we do to strengthen trust here?
Trust between superiors and their subordinates plays an important role in an organization’s foundation. When there is trust between managers and their staff, there is likely to be increased loyalty, higher productivity, ability to execute change, discretionary effort and higher retention.
Again, to get an honest response to this question, you need to have developed a culture of open feedback.
Question 6: Do you feel you are heard here?
It is crucial that your employees have the opportunity to offer input on decisions that affect their working conditions. By asking this question, you can make them feel that their input in major decisions is taken seriously.
If they don't feel like they're being heard, you can put systems into place to ensure that feedback is encouraged and taken seriously.
Question 7: Is there someone in this company you would like to apprentice under for a few weeks?
This direct question can reveal which leader/manager is doing their job well, as well as showing you how much people crave learning and developing their skills — and subsequently, help you come up with better training and development modules for them.
Question 8: How would you define our company culture?
This question highlights ways employee groups (by level, department or location) view your company. It also gives you an opportunity to assess the gap between the current culture and the one your employees desire.
Question 9: Do you identify with the vision of the company?
Having meaningful and impactful work is one of the most important drivers of employee engagement. If a staff member does not identify with your company’s vision, or does not see a link between their work and how it is contributing to the business’ success, it can cause unhappiness and frustration, and they may not feel motivated enough to put their best foot forward to be successful and productive at work.
Question 10: What would you do if you were CEO for a day?
This question compels the respondents to prioritize what they’re most passionate about regarding how your company runs its operations, and their feedback provides insights into those areas of the business that may otherwise be overlooked.
Alternately, you could ask them, “What is the one thing you would change in the company and why, if you were CEO for a day?”
Question 11: What’s the one thing you think we are doing right and should continue doing?
While there is always room for growth and improvement, it’s equally important to highlight the things that a business is doing well and should keep doing — especially things that make staff members feel engaged, valued and connected.
Question 12: Are there any benefits you’d like us to offer that we currently don’t?
You may believe that most people will want more money; in reality, what this question will reveal is which benefits your employees are seeking that could help improve their happiness at work.
Question 13: Do you think there is an area outside your current role where you could be contributing?
By asking this question, you’ll learn exactly where your employees want to contribute more to help grow your company even further.
Question 14: Have you noticed someone’s work that has gone unnoticed here?
This is a great way to find out if your employees feel underappreciated. The answers to this question can help you uncover the particular areas or projects where your employees would like more recognition and gratitude.
Question 15: Is there something about this company you feel you should know?
Employees want to know more about the place they spend majority of their waking hours, such as the company’s mission, its vision, why certain policies exist, people’s roles and so on. By asking this question, you get to the core of what those things are.
This is in no way an exhaustive list of questions that you can ask your employees to understand the true pulse of your business; however, it’s a good place to start.