Whether in coaching sessions, employee surveys or roundtable discussions, here are 10 powerful questions to ask if you want an engaging workplace culture.
Interviewing for a job soon? You can use many of these same questions to ask in your job interview as well.
Workplace culture is defined differently depending on who you ask. The Balance defines it as “the personality of a company which defines the environment employees work in and includes a variety of elements encompassing company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals.”
The Harvard Business Review has a slightly different take on organizational culture: work culture is “the set of processes in an organization that affects the total motivation of its people.”
Both explanations are right, but take slightly different views on the same thing. Regardless of your perspective, one thing is for sure: culture in the workplace is alive and can be created intentionally to bring about an environment that employees love to work in. It can guide them to achieving business goals happily and with enthusiasm.
Below are the top ten feedback questions we have found for asking employees that will help build a positive organizational culture within your teams and business.
1. What is your favorite success story from this week/month?
Remind employees of their wins and what it feels like to be proud of their work with this question. It will also provide a sense of accomplishment and progress, giving both oversight power and improvement potential for managers. It helps them see if employees are actually contributing in the ways needed for success.
2. What does a happy workplace culture look like to you?
We all want to be happy at work – it is where we spend the majority of our waking hours. Job happiness figures seamlessly into increased productivity and better quality work. By asking this you will gain insight into what motivates and enthuses your team from their own perspective.
3. Which quality was displayed by a colleague this week that you’d like to cultivate yourself?
Asking this will give you insight into the qualities admired by your workforce. It provides a health check on workplace culture and which employees may be unrecognized top performers, while simultaneously building awareness and connection within your team.
4. What kind of impact do you have on people around you?
This question invites an opportunity for reflection on personal behavior and increases self-awareness. By asking staff to consider their colleagues’ reactions and perceptions for a moment, employees can improve internal team communication, build effective collaboration, and build a more positive, professional attitude.
Did you know? According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review (link to the study PDF opens in a separate window), 71% of senior executives rank employee engagement as important to organizational success, while only 24% say employees are highly engaged in their organization. That’s a dramatic disconnect.
5. Tell me how I can be a better leader?
With this request, you will learn what your team perceives to be central leadership values and if these are in sync with the rest of the business. Additionally, soliciting this feedback displays openness and a willingness to improve yourself, while also initiating a feedback loop between leadership and employees.
You’ll also discover areas of opportunity for building trust with your team.
6. If you were to start a company from scratch, what values would you build it on?
Asking your team to think about starting from scratch gives them permission to think of some of their highest aspirations and most lofty goals for the company as a whole. This will also inspire them to accomplish more as a team and build belief in shared values.
7. Which opportunities for learning new skills have you recently pursued away from the office?
Personal fulfillment and reaching our full potential require us to extend our experiences outside of everyday work. Encourage your teams to do this by providing an opportunity to highlight something that they want for their personal or professional development. It can help you consider new initiatives to promote new skills while providing staff with the recognition they desire.
8. If you could ask anyone to help you become your ideal self, who would it be and what would they teach you?
Positive workplace culture encourages growth and continued development. Asking this question helps expose areas that employees would like to develop and opportunities for mentoring between or within teams to encourage a culture of support and openness.
This is a great progression planning opportunity to identify those with high leadership potential.
9. What is the one thing about our product or service that you would improve?
Innovation can come from all corners of your business and should be encouraged. Some of the best ideas evolve from concept to implementation in a collaborative effort. You never know if just voicing the idea could be enough to have someone else on the team provide the simple solution to make it happen.
10. Which organizational value would you like to improve upon?
The values of your business are the driver of your team and build accountable behaviors. This question keeps those values at the front and center of your team’s minds, allowing them to be utilized as high-level inspiration when they face challenges in their roles.
Why and how people interact with each other at work is the company’s culture. Make sure your employees receive continued support and feedback to ensure the office culture continues to motivate your teams and brings the business to new heights.
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