Measuring engagement at work is quite difficult. It’s not like managers can read employees minds, so the best way to find out how to engage employees is to ask. But what is the most effective question to ask to get a useful answer?
We asked members of the Forbes Coaches Council what question should they ask their team members to gain insight as to their engagement with their job and with the company. The answers given varied across the board but they all require actual listening and extending empathy toward the employee to gain the most from the responses.
1. Are You Happy Here?
This question is critical to employee engagement. Happy employees are engaged employees. Yet, often, employees take a job or rise to a new position for income gain. Intrinsic desire, not just skill set or salary, is the key to having employees in the right seat on the bus. Are they going through the motions, or are they in the right department, performing a role they feel is meaningful? – Tammy Kling, OnFire Books
2. What Matters To You?
It’s key to find out what matters to each employee in order to be able to support them in achieving it. The track you see for them may not be the track they desire. Collaborating on creating a path forward with them will engage them in their future and what they are currently doing to get there. They will be able to see how the work they are doing will help get them to their goals. – Kris McCrea Scrutchfield, McCrea Coaching
3. How Can We Improve?
Seeking honest feedback from employees, and then implementing improvement strategies, builds confidence. Employees who believe that their employer has their best interest at heart will naturally grow in loyalty and engagement. To increase engagement, leaders need to encourage engagement by involving employees in workplace improvement decisions and respectfully acknowledging input. – Adrienne Tom, Career Impressions
4. How Is Our Culture Getting In The Way Of Our Success?
Engagement is fundamentally a factor in an individual’s ability to be successful at work. I guarantee your culture and “the way you do things” are getting in the way of people being successful in a variety of ways. The more of that you fix, the more engaged they will be. – Jamie Notter, Human Workplaces
5. What Is Getting In The Way Of Loving What You Do?
“Engagement” is a lowest common denominator that organizations use, and the statistics are that two-thirds of employees in the U.S. are completely disengaged or neutral about their work. “What is getting in the way of loving what you do?” is a far more powerful question someone can ask to help people become involved with their workplace. – Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
6. Is This What You Want To Do?
People who are good at what they do may not like it or want to do the job. Ask this question and listen. If you don’t want to do the main duties of your job, you may be good at it but in time you will become miserable and disengaged. If the answer is no, it may mean a slight change of job responsibilities. You may even be able to refine their job to suit them better and help them powerfully reengage. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
7. What Is One Thing I Am Doing That Gets In The Way Of Our Team’s Productivity?
This level of self-awareness communicates your openness to create an environment where people thrive. Don’t think people would be honest if asked in person? Ask a third party to collect their thoughts. Make a point to focus on one piece of feedback a month and share learnings with the team. – Cara Heilmann, Ready Reset Go
8. What Would Make You Listen To A Call From A Recruiter?
You might not be able to meet each employee’s every need, but information is power. You just might learn something you have the ability to address in the current job. I like to ask this question as part of a larger “development and retention” conversation, especially with high potentials the organization really wants to retain. The more valuable the employee, the more important it is to let him/her know that as they are thinking about their career future, you want to be sure this organization is a big part of it. – Kathy Bernhard, KFB Leadership Solutions
9. How Do You Want To Contribute?
Leaders often miss opportunities to help employees unmask their full potential. While each individual was hired for a specific skill set, most have additional skills and talents just waiting to be harvested. Employees who are allowed to explore the full scope of their interests and abilities experience higher job satisfaction, increased engagement and greater productivity. – Niquenya Collins, Building Bridges Consulting
10. How Can I Help You?
Effective leaders attempt to get the most out of every employee. With that being said, it is important to understand that each employee is different, and has their own needs and wants. Simply asking each employee how you can help them is a great first step to helping each employee become more engaged. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
11. Can We Co-Create Expectations?
Leaders can empower teams to create standards and boundaries regarding deliverables, response time for requests, prioritizing tasks, professional development, and career path. Employees will be able to manage their responsibilities instead of playing defense. This mindset doesn’t allow for full goal progression. Asking employees to co-create expectations allows everyone to “own” their career. – Deborah Goldstein, DRIVEN Professionals
12. What Can I Do To Make Your Job Easier?
This question implies that the manager cares about the employee. If employees feel that management truly cares about them as people, they will walk through fire for the manager. If they believe the manager could care less, they will let him or her walk off a cliff. Caring gets to the heart of employee engagement. – Jan Makela, Strength Based Leadership
13. How Would You Do It?
Listen, then get out of the way. Too often, engagement means, “Do what I want you to do the way I want you to do it.” People then disengage because they are not allowed to try it differently or they’re not supported when bringing new ideas to the table. “How would you do it?” will create a positive attitude when trying to solve issues within your company or team. – Christopher Williams, High Level Wisdom for New Generation Leaders
14. How Is This Role Helping You Reach Your Dreams?
The caveat, however, is extremely important. You must find a way to remove fear from the conversation. Your employees cannot be truthful if they’re worried about the repercussions of sharing their visions and goals. Remove fear, then help them connect the dots and see how they benefit from the work they’re doing. – Derrick Bass, Jr., Clarity Provoked
15. How Do You Want To Work?
Not everyone’s motivational carrot is the same, but if you can afford to allow staff to set their own schedules and meet their goals in the way that best serves them, you’ll gain greater output. Flexible schedules, remote work, and free days can actually dramatically increase productivity, job satisfaction, and buy-in. Embrace a schedule that allows everyone to reach their greatest contribution. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International