Questions are the key to unlock information we don’t have and can’t always see. The power of questions can only be released when we begin to ask them. While these questions are typically reserved for the interview room, using them more frequently within our teams will reveal our employees’ potential and foster advantageous work relationships.
The 2020 Achievers’ retention and engagement survey found that 64% of respondents are considering leaving their jobs this year. While mainly due to employees feeling disengaged and unmotivated in their roles, only 8% of employees felt their senior leadership was committed to improving the company culture. Though many companies are seeking ways to increase their work culture, employees don’t always know this. One of the best ways to improve our workforce atmosphere is one of the least costly options — communication.
When bringing new people onto our teams, we tend to assume we already know all we need to know about them. It’s easy to believe that a resume and job description sum up our employees. But intentional communication with your team is vital, not only to discover unknown talents about your employees but also to form a healthy rapport and connections.
In order to improve the culture of our companies and create an authentic community, we need to use the power of questions.
Here are seven questions every employee wishes you would ask:
- “What are you most passionate about in your role?” Discovering what employees love about their roles and responsibilities tells us a lot about their strengths and interests. Asking this allows employees to feel acknowledged in their abilities and opens a window of communication for possible growth opportunities.
- “What is your long-term goal at this company?” Showing interest in your employees’ future pursuits within your organization allows you to understand where they hope to go within the company. Usually, internal growth doesn’t happen out of the blue but strategically. Communicating about how employees may desire to grow within the company allows them to share their hopes and enables you to think outside of the box. Many new positions within a company are often birthed from an employee’s vision for the team as well as the leadership.
- “What do you hope to do in the future?” Simply take interest in their future pursuits, even if they’re not directly related to your company. You never know how their dreams may align with future plans of your company or people within your network. Also, simply showing interest in their aspirations and who they are is essential to building any relationship, even when it doesn’t always apply to your organization.
- “What can I do to make your job easier?” Asking how you can help or remedy a situation allows your employees to feel more supported. It also builds a natural bridge between employees and leadership. Questions like these reveal frustrations or struggles you may not recognize otherwise.
- “Do you have all the support you need?” Employees may often feel intimidated or nervous to ask for help. Sometimes, just a bit of additional support can considerably bolster them in their position.
- “Did you feel adequately prepared for this role?” Questions for employees not only allow you to learn more about them but also give you insight into how your teams work. There may be onboarding procedures that need to be altered or improved. Asking about their experience in training and continued supervision gives you a clearer understanding of your organization’s health.
- “How was your weekend?” A seemingly ordinary question to ask, it nonetheless can reveal a lot. But do we ever hear how someone’s weekend was, other than “good”? We may discover some are facing health issues or dealing with a season of some needed flexibility in their hours. Most employees would never feel privileged to ask for this. Yet by genuinely asking and listening, we may find ways we can alleviate their pressure and give them more energy to do their jobs well.
To improve our team’s culture, we don’t always need luxurious retreats or more snacks in the break room (although those things never hurt). The art of asking questions may not be instinctive for us all, but it can be learned. As we work to ask better questions, we can communicate better and begin to improve the culture of our workplaces.
In focusing on the fundamentals of communication and relationship-building, we can understand our teams better, allow them to get to know us better, and build more authentic and aligned work relationships.