One of the most critical aspects of a successful business is staying in alignment from the top down. As such, it’s critical that team leaders meet with employees at the end of each quarter and ask the right questions to assess whether they’re on track with goals, struggling within their role or feel strongly about an issue within the organisation.
“Asking good questions gives you the power to solicit quality employee feedback, spark innovation, avoid fire drills and help employees show-up as their best selves”, says Dave Hassell, business writer for HuffPost.
If you’re not sure what to ask your employees, consider these six questions. Ask at the end of the quarter to make sure everyone is on track — and if they’re not, this will be your chance to change course.
1. What’s working and what’s not?
This question seems obvious, but it’s easy to miss when focusing on more specific, high-level concerns. Start here, allowing you to open the door for conversation. The key is listening to employees’ responses and making sure they know it. The best way to do that is to repeat back to them what you have heard them say, suggests Minda Zetlin, co-author of The Geek Gap.
[Related: The A-Z of Feedback]
2. Have you left a review on Glassdoor?
Reviews for products on Amazon drive sales; reviews for employers on Glassdoor drive applications. Knowing how employees find the experience of working for your organisation is critical. While you can’t require employees to leave a review, you can let them know their opinion is valued and invite them to do so. The key: don’t make it a one-time thing.
“Here at Glassdoor, we ask new hires to leave reviews of their hiring experience during their first day of training! Pro tip: After 90 days, new hires should also be invited to follow up and reflect upon their first three months on the job”, according to Glassdoor’s Employee Engagement Feedback Do’s and Don’ts.
What’s more, the same Glassdoor article suggests that recent reviews on your profile improve search relevancy and keep you at the top of search results, making it a win-win for everyone.
3. Are you satisfied with your current responsibilities?
This question allows you to gauge whether the employee wants to grow in their role or is feeling the beginning stages of employee burnout.
“If you’re a small business owner, or if your company’s strategies and focus are often shifting, your employees may be asked to pick up unexpected roles or switch hats. And while this can be a good thing, every once in a while, especially if I see a particular employee isn’t producing high-quality work, I’ll check in to see whether people are feeling satisfied and fulfilled in their current positions”, suggests Jim Belosic, CEO of Shortstack.
If employees aren’t satisfied, take it a step further to find out what would make it better. A new role? Less work on their plate? A different focus in the same position? Your action-item is then to find a way to help them be their best self and highlight their strengths.
4. What could our organisation do differently over the next 12 months?
During this meeting, it’s important to not only reflect on how employees can do their job well, but to determine how the company can improve alongside them. This is a tough question, because often employees will feel like they can’t suggest a change or point out flaws. It’s your job to remind them this isn’t the case:
“Ask your team to be honest and critical without judgment. Only by sharing failures can you learn from your mistakes and identify hard-won lessons you’d be wise not to repeat”, according to Raelene Morey.
If you feel they have something to say, but are too nervous to do so, suggest they send an email after the meeting. This can be as simple as saying, “Don’t hesitate to send a follow-up email with anything that comes to mind when we’re done here”. This may be what they need to share this type of feedback.
5. Which part of your job do you like best?
This is a simple and effective way to evaluate the strengths and interests of your employees. When you match up an employee with the things that they enjoy and do well, you’ll have a higher rate of employee satisfaction and a better chance of keeping that employee around — people who use their strengths every day are more than three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life and six times more likely to be engaged at work, according to Gallup.
6. What process can be fixed or improved?
This may be another challenging question for employees to answer, so encouraging them to be honest and emphasising that nothing negative will come of their feedback, is critical.
Ultimately, asking this question empowers employees to be involved in improving the organisation. Not to mention, when they know they’ll be asked this at their next one-on-one feedback session, they’re more likely to be thinking about ways to improve throughout the course of the quarter. Their suggestions will be invaluable, especially if they’re willing to head-up new initiatives and projects.
This Quarter, Ask the Right Questions
Take time to sit down with your team members at the end of the quarter and assess how they’re feeling about their job, how they feel about their goals and what they think the company can do to improve. Employees will feel heard and you’ll likely come away with a wide variety of ideas for how you, the business and how each employee can improve in the next quarter.