13 Questions To Solicit High-Quality Employee Feedback
In business, we are often so results-focused that we can discourage the outside-the-box thinking that drives innovation. But curiosity is vital for building thriving companies and for fostering healthy relationships between managers and co-workers. When you ask your employees the right questions, you’ll get quality feedback that sparks creativity, puts out potential fires, and helps employees show up as their best selves.
Here are 13 questions you can ask employees in your 1-on-1s to help deepen your connections and encourage their growth and development.
1. What are 5-10 qualities that you think are must-haves for enriching and diversifying our team’s current culture?
Finding a candidate who can do the work is one challenge, but hiring a person who can add a unique perspective is arguably more important. Traditionally, hiring for a “culture fit” typically meant hiring people who displayed qualities already present in your team members. But in looking for something different, you’ll enrich the diversity and capability of your team.
2. Do any of our processes seem inefficient to you? How can we fix them?
Simple or complex, allowing your employees to speak up on process encourages engagement and keeps them constantly thinking of making things better for everyone. And in giving your employees a voice, you gain an opportunity to hear solutions that might have been otherwise overlooked.
3. Which company value would you like to embody more?
Organizational values are the compass by which autonomous employees steer, and this question keeps growth top of mind. In letting your employees take charge of their own growth, they’ll become more invested in the values that are most important to them.
4. What do you need help with?
This question widens the lens on objectives so that people are focusing on the now without losing sight of the not-so-distant future. Encourage your employees to set small, measurable goals for the immediate future that will support big picture, long-term growth. Ask them how you can support them and be sure to follow up to see how they’re progressing.
5. Is there anything in your work world that’s causing frustration or delays?
Sometimes something peripheral can have a tremendous impact on getting things done. It could be as simple as a noisy office space or IT issues. Or it could be something deeper related to culture or relationships. After a while, employees might just “deal with it” instead of asking for help, and this type of thinking takes a toll on morale. But in taking the time to ask for employee feedback, you’ll communicate that you’re available to help tackle these obstacles and create a better work environment for everyone.
6. Are you crystal clear on your role and what you should be working on? If not, what aspects aren’t clear?
If employees aren’t clear on the scope of their responsibilities or the why behind what they’re doing, it’s harder for them to feel engaged and invested. For any given task they’re assigned, an employee should be able to answer what exactly they are doing and why. And beyond that, they should also be able to identify what company and team objectives it contributes to. Be sure to always touch on this topic when things change and roles and responsibilities evolve.
7. Looking back on the week, is there anything that could have gone better?
Making time for reflection after a long week of multitasking, meetings, getting to inbox zero, and putting out fires can be difficult. By encouraging employees to share feedback in a work journal or fill out a 15Five Check-in at the end of every week (and doing so yourself), you’ll gain a snapshot into the barriers and obstacles that are keeping your team from optimizing their workflow.
8. What inspires you to succeed every day?
Asking this open-ended question will give your employees an opportunity to talk about how they define success for themselves. Use this dialogue to get to know your employees better and learn what they’re striving for. Once you do, you can reinforce the importance of seeking out people or experiences that will inspire them to find success at work.
9. What is the most meaningful part of your job?
Dan Pink compiled a wealth of research to determine that we are motivated by autonomy, mastery, purpose, or meaning. This question directs an employee’s focus toward what is most meaningful, thereby increasing their work motivation. This insight is critical for managing each person effectively.
10. On a scale of 1 to 10, how hopeful are you? Why?
When your team is hopeful about the future, they not only come up with better solutions, but their positivity also helps to build a work culture of high performance and low turnover. Be sure to normalize that it’s ok to have a tough day occasionally and that everyone is navigating their own challenges. What’s important is that your workforce has confidence in the future of your organization and your ability to lead them in a positive direction.
11. When do you have the most fun at work?
After a rough or stressful week, asking this question can provide a much-needed reminder that people do indeed have a good time with each other at work. If the answer is “never,” it’s time to emphasize the importance of downtime and examine whatever barriers might be in the way of enjoyment at work.
12. Was there a recent team discussion or meeting where you did not get to share your thoughts? Would you like to share them now?
Asking this feedback question in the form of a written employee questionnaire, with time to answer, allows employees to shine a light on their hidden genius. Also, be wary of employees talking over each other in meetings. If you notice this happening, simply interject and say something like “Hey [name], I missed that last part of what you were saying” and give them room to speak.
13. Who do you want to get to know better in the company?
Sure, sometimes you need to focus and that means sitting at your desk with your headphones on. But it’s also important to build meaningful relationships at work by creating some cross-team camaraderie.
A well-crafted feedback question can inspire and illuminate, and often improve team communication. But asking thought-provoking questions takes skill, and only the right questions will inspire creativity and yield the quality employee feedback and positive results that managers desire. Done well, this practice inspires others to solve problems and to think spontaneously and creatively.
David Hassell is a business columnist, speaker, and serial entrepreneur who believes that when leaders institute cultural practices that support each person in being and becoming their best self, high performance and uncommon loyalty naturally result. As co-founder and CEO of 15Five, David created the science-inspired Best-Self Management methodology that helps leaders and managers address the hidden factors that stimulate sustainable growth and development – things like intrinsic motivation, strengths, and psychological safety. David has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Wired. Follow him on Twitter @dhassell.