Good leaders know the value of their employees’ insights and opinions. By asking specific questions, they gain priceless knowledge that can alter the shape of a company’s culture, the morale of their team, and the engagement each employee has regarding their role in the company.
The only problem? Asking meaningful questions doesn’t happen as often as it should.
Thankfully, performance engagement is finally moving away from annual reviews to more effective real-time feedback platforms, like Slack and Hangouts Chat. Such technology is not only invaluable for collecting employee feedback, but also for fostering a stronger team dynamic.
If annual reviews are on the way out, then what should you be asking employees on a regular basis? Here are 6 questions to ask your team each month.
- What has been your biggest accomplishment this month?
A dismal 15% of workers around the world feel engaged with their job. As this number continues to decline, leaders need to ask themselves how they can recognize and reward the efforts of their employees.
One solution: ask them about their recent accomplishments.
This question builds pride and a sense of progress while giving employees a chance to pat themselves on the back for a job well done. We all like to congratulate ourselves once in a while, and recognizing the accomplishments of your employees can help curb the disengagement that’s spreading among full-time workers.
Plus, you gain a sense of what really motivates each member of your team. You might be surprised to hear that completing a large project wasn’t the highlight of someone’s month, but in fact, it was the collaborative meetings that led to the creation and development of new ideas.
2. What’s the biggest challenge you faced this month?
Asking about the challenges your team faced this month is the perfect follow-up to the first question, as it allows you to understand any struggles that may have slipped off your radar. From faulty software to missed deliveries, your employees function at their best when any issues are swiftly resolved. Your awareness and response to these matters not only makes you a responsible leader, but it fosters the trust and open channels of communication needed for a better company culture.
Another good reason to ask about the challenges faced: it can lead directly to solutions. Posing questions can often feel like an obligation, rather than the resourceful and productive exchange it’s meant to be. By learning about each employee’s biggest challenge, you can solve the problem together.
3. What resources would help you do your job more successfully?
75% of US workers believe they don’t have access to efficiency-boosting technology. A resource could be anything from a standing desk or quiet workplace, to a more effective means of communication. Whatever the answer happens to be, you’ll receive actionable information, which can be turned into positive change.
There’s always a chance that an employee may take advantage of such an offer, but you don’t have to deliver on every request. The primary purpose of this question is to understand the realistic changes that you can make to facilitate the success of your employees—information we all too often overlook.
4. What should we do differently?
A good manager knows the value of different viewpoints.
Each team member has a unique interpretation of their role within a company, as well as what they think the company could be doing to achieve better results. Tap into their insights on a consistent basis, and you’ll receive valuable information. Your employees will respect your efforts to continually seek information and improve the company in any way possible.
Slack is one of the easiest ways to pose questions to your team without disrupting their workflow or appearing intrusive. As a result, regular communication keeps employees much more engaged, which increases productivity, boosts morale and improves your bottom line.
If your business is using Slack as a primary means of internal communication, simplify the process of asking questions by implementing Polly, allowing you to create quick and recurring surveys. Your employees will be able to provide feedback anonymously about what your company or department could be doing differently, and you can see real-time results that allow for quicker corrective actions.
5. If you were the manager, what would you do differently, and why?
Phrase this in a manner that puts the employee in your shoes. What would they do differently? How would they do it, and why?
This question requires more trust than the other questions mentioned above, as employees will be reluctant to answer honestly at the risk of upsetting their leader. You’ll need to manage a transparent and positive company culture that’s devoid of fear in order to get the best answers. However, if your employees open up, you might be surprised to learn what they have to say.
Not only do employees gain a chance to steer the ship—giving them a sense of ownership—but it reminds each member of the team that their opinions are valued.
6. Can I help you with anything?
Finally, open the floor to a broader question that goes beyond the walls of the office.
This open-ended question is an excellent opportunity for your employees to reveal a personal issue they may be facing. Are they struggling with the loss of a loved one, have they moved across the city, or are they juggling a full-time job with school or children? Checking in with each employee to see how he or she is really doing demonstrates to your authenticity as a leader.
Professionalism is important, so don’t let this question spiral out of control. But showing genuine human concern demonstrates you’re invested in the well-being of your employees, not just their performance review.
Ask Regular Questions, Get Better Results
Asking actionable questions on a monthly basis is an excellent way to improve employee engagement, boost productivity, and establish stronger relationships with each member of your team. At its core, asking questions opens a channel of communication that can strengthen the environment of an office.
What questions do you ask your employees, and what insights have you learned? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!