Boost Employee Engagement by Asking Better Questions

By Tania Cervoni, Canadian Management Centre

If you lead people, then chances are good that you understand the direct relationship between how engaged your team members are with how likely they will be to work hard and stay with your organization.
But how can you really know if they’re engaged? Great question.

And in fact, the answer to that question is, by asking great questions. Most employees won’t share critical information about what motivates them unless you ask. And they’re unlikely to open up in future unless you’re prepared to really listen and act on what you hear.

In this current COVID-19 environment, creating an environment that is engaging is a particularly challenging assignment. Challenging, but not impossible. This is an ideal time to spend more time listening to employee needs as we attempt to respond to the disruption and uncertainty of this moment. So, what constitutes a great question?

Great questions help you uncover what really matters to your employee, what would allow them to be even more successful and what you can do to support them.  Here are the top 3 questions we love from Forbes’ 15 Questions To Ask Employees If You Want Them To Be More Engaged:

  1. What matters to you? This is both a powerful question and a broad one. How your employee chooses to answer will give you clues to their personal values and allow you to dig deeper to understand how their role, career path and your organization’s culture may be supporting or running counter to what really matters to them. In our current pandemic environment, this question may also create an opening into understanding how you might flex your employees responsibilities or time commitments to align with their current priorities – be it at work or personal.
     
  2. What is one thing I am doing that gets in the way of our team’s productivity?  This is a doozy of a question but if you can build enough trust in your relationship to allow employees to answer this question honestly, you’re on your way to supercharging your team’s ability to perform. To help build that trust, but sure to demonstrate vulnerability by authentically sharing at least one thing you’re already working on, that you know is an area of opportunity for you. And if you don’t get an answer at first, keep asking the question. This communicates that you really do want to know what they think!
     
  3. How do you want to contribute? It’s easy to assume that our employees want to do more of what we think they’re good at. This is a pitfall to be avoided. Just because we’re good at something doesn’t mean we love it or that we don’t aspire to doing something different. This is a time to learn more about other strengths or hidden talents and passions. Bring an open and unassuming mind to this conversation.

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