At least 15 Questions To Solicit High Quality Employee Feedback

By David Hassell

In business, we are often so results-focused that we can discourage the disruptive thinking that leads to success. But curiosity is vital for building thriving companies and for fostering healthy relationships between managers and co-workers. 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.

Soliciting employee feedback by asking questions lets us take a second look at what we hold to be true and what we view as false. When we ask questions, we begin to see that the “truth” is often based on subjective beliefs that can be reinvented or transformed.

When we focus more on answers than questions, we deprive everyone of an opportunity to grow. Relationships suffer, because nothing makes people feel more marginalized than telling them your impressions about their experiences, feelings, or work motivations. But asking direct question about another’s experience allows them to feel more seen, heard, and fulfilled.

The Great eBook of Employee Questions has arrivedIt contains 70 feedback questions, broken down by category and accompanied by explanations of why you should ask them. We want to help you build your work culture, inspire progress, increase morale, and achieve a host of other desired operational gaols. We have also included top questions that top thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and 15Five customers have used to create success and improve team communications.

Below you will find 14 questions to solicit employee feedback from your team plus a bonus question from our Genius Question Bank:

Building Company Culture

Merriam-Webster recently named “Culture” as the word of the year, which will tell you how important it is for your business.

1) What are 5-10 qualities that you think are must-haves for new hires in terms of organizational culture fit?

Finding a candidate who can do the work is one challenge, but hiring for culture-fit is arguably more important. Now you can intelligently design an interview process that asks the right company culture questions  to find out if people display these qualities.

2) What process can be fixed or improved?

Simple or complex, allowing your employees to speak up on process encourages workforce engagement  and keeps them constantly thinking of making things better for everyone.

3) Which company value would you like to have a new high mark in? (as in, which do you feel you aren’t living to its potential?)

Organizational values are the compass by which autonomous employees steer, and this question keeps the values top of mind. Some of our values are Keep Things Simple and Commit to Customer Success and Delight. So when any employees face a decision they can ask, “Am I over-complicating this? How would this impact our customers?”

Coaching Is The New Managing

Employees want to grow in their roles, and one of the goals for a manager is to help them get there. Asking questions about smart goals for work helps people to start working on solutions for themselves.

4) What do you need help with? This week? This month?

Remember when a week was 7 days and a month was 30 or 31? In business, time moves at an accelerated pace. This question also widens the lens on objectives so that people are focusing on the now without losing sight of the not too distant future.

5) Anything in your work world that’s less than stellar/causing frustration or delays?

Sometimes something peripheral can have a tremendous impact on getting things done. It could be a noisy office space or IT issues. After a while, employees might just “deal with it” instead of enrolling someone who can actually resolve the problems in the workplace.

6) Are you crystal clear on your role and what you should be working on? If not, what aspects aren’t clear?

Working hard and being busy doesn’t impress anyone, so you can stop running around the office with a furrowed brow. For any given task an employee should be able to answer what exactly they are doing and why. What company and team objectives does it contribute to?

7) Reflection: looking back on the week, is there anything that could have gone better?

Recollecting the details of a long week of multitasking, meetings, getting to inbox zero, and putting out fires can be difficult. Try adding entries to a work journal at the end of every day so that you can do a weekly performance review and optimize your workflow.

Raising Morale

While often intangible, morale still has a powerful impact on the flow of the company. Here’s a handful of questions to promote a positive attitude in the workplace.

8) What inspires you to succeed every day?

We can chalk challenges up to “having a bad day” or we can be way more analytical. Create the realization that employees can seek people or experiences that will inspire them to achieve their goals for 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, and purpose or meaning. This question directs an employee’s focus to what is most meaningful, thereby increasing their work motivation.

10) On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you? Why?

When your team is happy, they not only come up with better solutions, but their satisfaction also helps to build a work culture of high performance and low turnover.

Let’s Have Some Fun

At work? Are you kidding? Interjecting levity may seem like a waste of time, but think of it as a release valve to keep employee performance at its peak.

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 at the office. If the answer is “never”, it’s time to emphasize the importance of downtime.

12) What’s your favorite prank?

Make it clear that these are not to be attempted while at work, unless you want your precious office electronics covered in shaving cream.

Managing Introverts

Some people are brilliant at what they do, but prefer limited interaction. Here are some questions to enroll everyone in the conversation, without creating discomfort.

 13) Was there a recent team discussion or meeting where you did not get to share your thoughts? Share them here now…

Introverts tend to need more time to think through an idea and they often get interrupted or out-shouted by extroverts on the team. Asking this feedback question in the form of a written employee questionnaire, with time to answer, allows managers to shine a light on their hidden genius.

14) Who do you want to get to know better in the company? Tag them here for a coffee or virtual coffee date.

No, you can’t just run to your desk and put your headphones on. Let’s push your edges a bit so that we can create some cross-team camaraderie.

That’s Genius!

Our eBook has a bank of fourteen questions from thought leaders like Simon Sinek, Ryan Holiday, Anese Cavanaugh, Shawn Murphy and others. They share their favorite questions to ask their teams along with an explanation of why they ask them.

 Wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin, asks his team this question:

15) What’s holding you back from accomplishing your tasks?

I want to find what’s stopping progress and do everything in my power to eliminate those roadblocks.

A well-crafted feedback question can inspire and illuminate, and often improve team communication. Poorly worded questions can create confusion and disconnection.

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.

Image Credit: Nick Harris



Know the pulse of your team each week and improve employee engagement with 15Five.


  • Andy Robbins

    Hi David, Thank you for an excellent article. Your point that when we focus on giving answers versus asking questions, we deprive those around us as an opportunity to grow is spot on. As an executive coach, I come across many leaders who believe they are providing the most help by offering advice or providing solutions. Asking powerful questions has the ability to help you both learn.

  • I like the idea of a virtual coffee to know better somebody in our company, as all my employees work from home (I guess..) we meet only virtually just for work but not socially and to have a break time just to know each other better may be very important.

    • Thank you for sharing @empresarionomada:disqus If you can meet face to face at least once a year, nothing replaces that to build relationships and team cohesion.

Leadership

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