You’ve probably met small kids in your life who have a curiosity which can not be quenched, whose imaginations are firing on all cylinders. Their young minds thirst for knowledge, and the result is questions. A LOT of questions. These kids never stop asking questions, about everything. At that young stage of life, they may not know much, but they are learning at an amazing rate, devouring every scrap of knowledge, every answer they can find to the mass of questions floating around their heads. In order for children to learn, they ask questions about everything.
Managers should take a cue from these kids. Questions are fundamental to continued learning and growth, no matter the stage of life. For leaders who want successful companies and satisfied employees, feedback is key, and the right questions can lead to honest feedback.Stay curious… Be Engaged...and Go Deeper with these tips and top 8 questions to ask your team every month: Click To Tweet
Employees are often hesitant to voice their real opinions about their company, and about their manager (which may be you.) They fear negative consequences or loss of favor. However, cultivating a culture of honesty will go a long way toward the betterment of your company. At first, when you request direct feedback from your employees, they may not be very enthusiastic. But if you ask for their input through inquisitive and specific questions, you will find people much more willing to open up, especially since 39% of employees say people in their organizations don’t collaborate enough.
Ask specific, but open-ended questions, things that will allow your employees to openly express their opinions and insights:
- Some questions should be general: What is something your company could do to improve?
- Follow up by asking for specifics: Which company processes are efficient and which are inefficient?
- Ask for feedback about yourself: How can you, as their manager, work to be better?
- Ask how your employees are doing with their work: What are they enjoying about their work right now? What are they finding difficult about their work?
- Ask your employees if they need anything: What can we do for you as our employees?
Bonus Read: When it comes to asking all these questions you’re bound to get good and bad feedback… Read how you can turn negative feedback from your employees into a positive!
Ask why a lot, try to get answers that go deeper than the surface. Why? Because employees need to feel comfortable enough to voice their valuable insights and ideas. Those who define the company and know it best are those who do the daily work. Your employees are your most important resource, and a goldmine of information and knowledge. If you are not listening to them, you are flying blind. Plus, 55% of employees reported that communication between employees and senior management was very important to them.
Tell Me More…
These questions should be a MUST when you talk to your employees. While being a manager, you’re also a coach, a team member and while you might be the one asking questions, you are also the person they look to when they need answers. Take a look below and ask yourself… are you fully engaging in these types of conversations each month with your employees?
- How can I help make your job easier?
This doesn’t mean take over their job but simply ask if they are feeling overwhelmed with their workload.
- Which part of your job do you like best?
Find out what they really love to do and work with that. They might like to do something that another team member hates doing. So, figure out what parts each employee loves doing and try rebuilding how you delegate projects with this in mind.
- What would you like to learn?
This is basically an open-ended question… get to know your employee in the workplace and what they want to learn but also what they are interested in learning in life.
- What is your best accomplishment this month?
Go over what they did this past month and learn what they do daily. However, don’t turn this into a performance review. This is just a way to get to know your employees and show them that you genuinely care how they are doing.
- How can I help make work more fun?
We aren’t saying to build a jungle gym in the middle of the office (however, that would be a great stress reliever…don’t you think?) but by asking this you want to understand how you can make your employees look forward to work and be happy while at work.
- What processes need improved?
As a manager, you don’t always see EVERY process that goes on within your teams. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday work, we all do it but while your teams are working, some employees can find out a better way to work on a project or use a software more efficiently. Ask them if things are working the way they are, if they need improved or if they have a better process to share with other team members.
- Are you crystal clear in your position and what it all entails?
Sometimes we forget, that while our onboarding system might seem perfect, we will always miss something. Whether it be major or minor, an employee will always come across something they don’t know how to do or were never taught. This is your time to ask if they have questions about anything and let them feel open to ask you. Take time to set them up with another team member to help them learn what they need or explain whatever they need to know, yourself.
- How are you doing in life?
You shouldn’t look at your employees and only see them as workers, they have personal lives on top of their work lives. Which in some cases, can affect one another so feel free to ask them how they’re doing or how their family is doing. However, this doesn’t mean pry into their personal lives but a casual conversation like this can create a better connection between you and your employees.
Read this: Real-time performance is key to engaging with your employees… explore how giving feedback within minutes helps improve performance!
Listen attentively. You can ask the right questions, but if you are not really listening to the responses and acting on them, your employees will quickly become disengaged and lose interest in answering questions and giving critical feedback.Explore how these TOP 8 questions are revealing the relationships and engagement your teams have been craving: Click To Tweet
Instead, pay attention, and even take notes on their answers. Do your best to integrate their feedback and implement their suggestions. Make sure everyone feels like part of the team, like they can contribute and be taken seriously. You can build a culture of honesty and open contribution at your company, and watch as your employees and organization flourish, remembering that companies that implement regular feedback with their employees experience 15% lower turnover rates.
Take the time to sit with your teams or even each employee to really get an understanding of their work ethic and goals. As a manager you have a lot of employees to look over so it’s only natural to sometimes forget certain things about each of them. When you sit down with them and actually listen and pay attention you create a deeper connection and engagement with your employees this will also help you retain what you discussed. If you continue to do this monthly or every other month you will continue to build on your relationships. When relationships are built on continuously, employees feel included and more comfortable to voice opinions and give insight within the company. All together this creates a more engaged company culture for you and your team.
Your employees may all have different ideas about what is working and what isn’t. And you need to make it clear that while you value their feedback, not all of it can be implemented at once (or even at all). Tell them you will look for patterns in their responses and try to address the issues or concerns that seem to impact many of them.
Setting these expectations will not only help your employees understand and know what’s expected from them but will also help you stay on track. Being a manager means setting the tone for your teams and company. You are the role model for your employees, so while implementing new ideas is great you still have to set the tone for them and how it will work.
Asking questions is crucial to learning how well your company is doing at addressing employee needs, but if you’re constantly asking open-ended questions, you may find yourself with more problems than solutions. So, nudge your employees toward a solution if they present an issue. Use probing questions to help them identify a solution alongside you.
You need your employees’ feedback for the growth of your company, just like kids need their questions answered for their continued development. Don’t be too easily satisfied. Every good leader knows you can never stop learning, never stop adapting, and never stop finding ways to be better.
So go ask some questions. Channel your inner four year old – it’s important for the development of your employees, your company, and yourself. Want to experience how iRevü can benefit your company? Get your FREE trial of our employee performance system today!