Written by Rae Steinbach, Freelance Editor, 15Five Blog.
It can be easy for a disconnect to form between a manager and their staff. They might be communicating the practical points that go into meeting various goals, but they are out of touch when it comes to a range of different factors that can affect productivity and employee satisfaction.
The information about these matters won’t just come to you on their own – you need to seek employee feedback and start the important conversations. When employees feel heard, staff retention and satisfaction improves. As a result, the overall organizational culture improves. The following are a few of the questions that managers should be asking to elicit this type of conversation.
Have you had any recent successes?
This question offers a good way to start a feedback communication. It gives your employees a chance to celebrate some of their triumphs, and it also gives you a chance to share in the celebration. This sets a good tone for the conversation, and it gives you an opportunity to learn more about what your employees view as a win.
Are you facing any difficult challenges?
Even your most talented employees will run into problems. When you ask this question, it gives your employees a chance to share their struggles with you. People will appreciate the fact that you care about their problems, and it can also give you a chance to get ahead of an issue that you were previously unaware of.
Is there anything we could do to improve your success?
Your employees will need different things at different times. You might not realize that a change is needed or that access to a new resource could dramatically increase the success of your team. By asking, it gives the employees an opportunity to point these things out.
What is the state of workplace morale?
A good manager cares about how their employees feel. When you ask questions like this, it is another sign that you care about the people that work for you. Ask individuals about how they feel, and ask them if they have any observations about the overall morale in the workplace. This also helps you to get your finger on the pulse of the satisfaction of the company as a whole.
Talk about one good thing that happened this week.
This is a question that can help you to get to know your employees. When people feel like their manager knows and understands them, they are more likely to be engaged and satisfied in their work.
Is there anything you would do differently if you owned the company?
Your team might contain some of the best innovators at the company, but you might not get the benefits of their insights if you don’t ask for them. They might have unique ideas about improvements to products and services, or they might have suggestions that could help to make for a more productive workplace. This question puts them in the driver’s seat to share their suggestions and ideas that may benefit the business.
Talk about one thing you appreciate about one of your coworkers.
This is a good way to get employees to reflect upon the contributions of their coworkers. It can help to grow appreciation between team members, and it can give you some insights into what traits your employees value in the people they work with.
What can I do to be a better leader?
This one might be a little uncomfortable for your team, but you need to assure them that you are open to their views on leadership. This could help you find ways that you could grow as a leader, and it could be a good way to identify the future leaders that are on your team. If an employee is willing to give you fair, constructive criticism, there is a good chance that they have leadership qualities that could be valuable to your company.
Start asking these questions today for a better workplace into the future. You’ll learn things about your employees and the workplace culture that you never knew, while also increasing retention and employee satisfaction.
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.
Twitter handle: @araesininthesun