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7 Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask Employees

7 Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask Employees

The Great Resignation is upon us. Whether you've heard this exact term or not, chances are pretty good you have felt it's impact. 


🙋🏾‍♀️ Have you had employees quit in record numbers?

🙋🏾‍♀️ Feel that it is nearly impossible to hire new employees no matter what you do? 

🙋🏾‍♀️ The few applicants you may receive don't show for interviews?


Sounds familiar?


Then, my friend, you've been hit by the Great Resignation. 


While you can check out other resources that will share strategies about meeting your goals despite these challenges, one of the smartest things you can do is to talk to your employees. 


Really,  ask them thoughtful, purposeful questions. Then listen to what they have to say. These conversations will give you valuable information that can be used to decrease the churn with employees and get new people in the door. 


But kind of questions?


Hard ones. 


If you want to retain your good employees and attract more highly qualified job applicants in a fiercely competitive labor market, start asking the hard questions. 


Hard questions have answers that may sting and be difficult to accept. But these questions aren't designed to elicit praise and accolades from your employees. The questions are designed to get honest answers about how employees feel about working for your business and their experience at your company. 


Ultimately this information, when acted upon will:


  • Help you retain your top performers by creating a work environment they can't find anywhere else so they will be less likely to leave. 

  • Help you attract more top performers to work for you because the business has a reputation of being a great place to work. 

By obtaining honest feedback from your employees and making necessary changes, you can move closer to becoming an employer of choice, a company where people want to work and actively seek out employment opportunities. 


There are lots of questions you could ask employees. But we recommend keeping the list short. Between 5 and 10 well thought out questions will do just find. That's enough to get meaningful information without making the employee feel that they're on trial. 


We've put together a list of seven questions that are suitable for any business and any job. Also, you can grab a ready to use questionnaire form with these seven questions. So you can print the form and start talking to your employees right away. To can get that here.


So let's get into these questions and why they're important.



7 Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask Their Employees


1. What makes you stay with our company?

With this question, we want to find out why an employee is sticking around. Do they love their job or is it the only job they can get and they need to make rent? You don't need employees to feel like your company and the job are their life calling, but it's a matter of who is going to be around longer. 

Someone who loves what they do and where they work? Or someone who just wants a paycheck? We say, and research shows it's the employee who loves what they do and where they work. That's why this question is important. If you can identify any employees who not be engaged, then you can re-engage them before they leave your business. 


2. What can the company and your manager do to support your success in the job?

A big source of employee frustration is not having the support needed to do their jobs well. Even if your company has a robust training program for employees, there may still be gaps leaving areas where employees desire more resources, training and guidance. Without asking you may not know what employees need. Uncovering this information will give you the opportunity to support employees but also improve the experience of your customer by having a better trained and empowered team.


3. What would make you leave?

The cost of employee turnover is expensive. While the exact cost may vary from business to business, the cost can be significant. A CAP study found the average cost to replace an employee who earns less than $30,000 is 16% of the annual salary. For example, the cost to replace a part time janitor earning $10 per hour would be $1,664.


It is a financially smart, strategic move for employers to put energy into retaining employees and keeping a pulse on who is likely to leave. Looking for red flags allows you to take action before it is too late. It is much less expensive to retain a good employee than to find and train a new employee.  


4. What do you like about your job and the company?

As the saying goes, if it’s not broken then don’t fix it. You’ll want to gather information on things that need your attention to improve of course. But don’t neglect to get feedback on things employees feel that the business is doing well. You can intentionally maintain, improve or increase these good factors within your business. These will also be good signals of what’s important to employees and what they want in an employer. 




5. What don't you like about your job and the company?

We're getting straight to the point with this one. There's no need to sugar coat it. It's too important to know what employees don't like about their jobs to avoid it. There will be things you don't agree with and things that can't be changed. But try to be open to anything that can be changed or accommodations that can be made. In the end, the goal is to retain and attract employees for your business. Making reasonable changes to improve job satisfaction can play a role in achieving that goal. 


6. Do you feel that the job allows you to easily manage responsibilities like parenting, school, caring for elderly family members or pursuing your interests?

Your employees have lives outside of work. For sure you employ parents, students, caretakers or all of the above. The extent to which an employee feels they can juggle all of their responsibilities and not drop any balls,  directly affects how long an employee with stay with your company. If they they can't get a schedule that works with their childcare or school schedule, they'll find one that does. Or drop out of the workforce all together like may have had to do throughout the pandemic.

 So you want to get inside your employee's head and find out if they are struggling to balance all the roles in their life. If there is a struggle dig deeper to find ways that your business can support your employee. It could be a minor schedule adjustment or some other small change that could make a world of difference and retain a rock star employee. 


7. What 3 things do you think we could change to make our company an even better place to work?

Employees may have several things they would want changed about their job. The goal of this question is to get employees to prioritize the changes that are most important. After asking your entire team or a good percentage of them, you'll be able to spot trends. These trends can be a guide in deciding which issues your business wants to address and in what order to have the most significant impact. 


In this post we've talked about why it's important to ask your employees questions about their experience with your company. With these seven questions plus the questionnaire form, you're ready to have meaningful conversations with your employees. The conversations started by these questions can have a significant impact on your ability to attract and retain employees.


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