Like a lot of people reading this post, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about how to unlock the best of employees. But the workplace can be very demanding, right? And before you know it, your intentions of making your employees happy can quickly fall to the waist side due to high demands and strict timelines. And while the numbers may appear to grow, quality and engagement will start to decline.
What if I told you the first steps to keeping good employees loyal was as simple as asking just five questions?
- What was your greatest challenge this past year? Annual reviews are generally a list of questions geared towards performance outcome based on job requirements, but not often are employees asked about their challenges outside of that list. To get to the core issues impacting performance results, try asking them directly what challenges they have to overcome on a daily basis that make their job harder to perform.
- Do you enjoy what you do? Now I realize this question may seem scary, mostly because the answer could very-well be NO. Ouch! But that doesn’t mean you will loose your best employees. It means you will have a better understanding of who they are and how you can create a solid career development plan to encourage them to remain engaged.
- Do you think we are the best at what we do? If you want to learn how to make your business better, start by talking to your unhappy customers both internal and external. Its difficult for employees to do something every day they don’t believe in. Think of it this way: If your employee needed a product or service you offered, would they choose you over your competitors?
- How do you view our culture when it comes to sharing your ideas and solutions? An employee can be very good at performing within their area, but they may be holding back solutions to problems you don’t see and ideas to increase productivity and margins you haven’t thought of. It’s vital to make sure your organization encourages a culture of hearing from the people responsible for delivering the work. The only way they can love the business like you do, is if they are involved in contributing their ideas and solutions to make it better.
- What would make this year a great year for you? In addition to asking, “What can I do to make your job better?”, try forming the question in a broader way. There may be life/work balance issues you need to know that reach beyond what you can directly do within the workplace. It could be pursuing a degree, seeing a distant loved one, charity or volunteer opportunities. Help them to see you value the important things in their life just as much as you value their contributions to the organization.
Go beyond rating employee satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 10. Try directly asking open questions that will encourage great conversation and give you the feedback you need to unlock the best of your employees.