The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask Employees  

Many forward-thinking businesses now make regular use of employee engagement surveys and feedback questionnaires to help them drive change. After all, it is only by asking your workforce what they think and feel about their time spent at work that it is possible to make the right calls about what to change and what to keep doing. Significant cultural change can be made within organisations if decision-makers are sufficiently well-informed to make the right calls. Without employee feedback, you are simply operating in the dark and having to guess about what to do next.

This is why it is not only the fact that a business conducts an employee survey that is important but the sort of questions that are asked, too. Overall, questions should be anonymous so that people don’t hold back with what they think. According to WorkBuzz – a firm that runs a leading anonymised online survey platform for businesses – anyone who worries what their manager might think if they can see the results of a survey which hasn’t been anonymised isn’t going to give you the information you need to make strategic and structural decisions.

Furthermore, questions should be reasonably open so that employees can express themselves freely. For example, you shouldn’t ask a member of staff whether they are happy in their job or not but how happy they rate themselves in their job. Often, a numbering system will be used so that employees can self-assess. This means that the data gathered can be interpreted easily across the board by offering an average score. However, some questions should be even more open and allow employees to write their responses without the need to ascribe a score to them.

Want to know which questions are the most important ones to ask employees if you are serious about understanding the thoughts, concerns and hopes of your workforce? Read on to find out.

How Challenging Do You Find Your Work?

This is a key question because it helps to measure stress. Stress is a major cause of absenteeism these days so taking steps to lessen it is essential for keeping productivity high. Without asking your staff members about stress directly, this question prompts them to think about the challenging nature of their work. People who are challenged too much in their role will feel out of their depth or be overworked, both leading to stress. Equally, people who aren’t challenged enough will be bored and that is also a known stressor in the workplace. Asking this question will help you to assess the proportion of your workforce that is challenged just enough to keep them engaged and productive and the proportion which is not.

How Would You Go About Getting Help If You Needed it?

This question prompts employees to discuss their relationships with managers and colleagues. Unstressful workplaces will be supportive, so your employees should know how to access help when they need it. If they report they don’t know what to do about getting help or, worse still, have difficulty getting assistance once they’ve asked for it, then you will need to make some changes to make the workplace more inclusive and supportive.

What Do You Think of the Company’s Values and Mission?

Understanding how aligned, or otherwise, your workforce is with what you are trying to achieve as an organisation is incredibly important. Of course, commercial organisations are there to generate profit but how and in what ways? People who are signed up to the wider goals of any business or charitable organisation will tend to feel they are part of something bigger than them and be more fulfilled in their roles. This means less staff turnover among other things. Therefore, asking how employees feel about values is a way of understanding how your organisation is performing with respect to its own ideals but also a way of reducing potential business retention and recruitment costs.

If You Face Frustrations in Your Work, What Are They and What Can You Do About Them?

Blockages and procedural difficulties are often the most frustrating things employees report. Identifying these is something that middle managers are there to do but what if they are part of the problem or simply don’t see the same issue those they are supervising do? This question cuts through tiered management structures to ask rank and file employees what the operational problems really are. What’s more, this question asks them to think of potential solutions, too.

If You Could Change Something About Your Job, What Would it Be?

This question is designed as a yardstick to see whether or not you get a high correlation among respondents. If an overwhelming number of people say they’d like more pension contributions or holiday entitlement, for example, then that’s something you can work with. It can also help to identify structural issues if employees tend to report that improving inter-departmental cooperation would benefit them in their role, for instance.

Sophia Anderson

Sophia Anderson is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on money, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development.