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What to ask your employees to keep them engaged

Monty Majeed
18th Jan 2017
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As entrepreneurs, our biggest asset is our employees. Only an engaged workforce can lead your business to success. However, according to a Gallup survey, almost 71 percent of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged in their work. To add to that, Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report found that employee engagement tops the list of organisational concerns. Some entrepreneurs think that giving your employees a raise is the solution to all their problems and will turn a switch on making them more loyal and engaged. But through various case studies, this has been proven wrong. There is a lot more that employees seek from a job beyond the pay. So how does one know what to do to make them more happy and engaged? The best way is to just ask them! Here are the best questions to ask your employees to keep them engaged and motivated:

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‘Are you satisfied with your current work responsibilities?’

According to American psychologist Frederick Herzberg, responsibility entrusted with each employee is one of the main motivators or factors that make them feel content about their jobs. The other factors – achievement, advancement, recognition, and growth – are all work-related, not money-related. So a good starting point in your conversation with your employee is to ask them how satisfied they are with the responsibilities entrusted to them. Do they think that they are being undervalued and not given much important work to do or vice versa?

The best way to figure out if an employee is disengaged or not is by taking notice of his or her work performance. If there is a marked difference in their performance and you see that it is going down by the day, then you need to look out for their response to this question. Depending on what they say, try to adjust their workload in a way that works for both you and them.

‘Do you feel you need more/better training to fulfil your responsibilities?’

Professional growth and personal growth are equally important to most employees. Considering that today’s average 25-year-old would have already done 6.3 jobs, millennial employees, especially, would like to be equipped with skills that will not just help them do well on this job, but on any others they take up in the future as well. Not just that, employees are more likely to stay with your company only if they feel as if they are moving in a direction in which they are able to align both their professional or personal goals. Providing them with opportunities to get trained in new skills will show them that you care about their growth as well.

So ask them if they think they would like to attend any events, conferences or seminars and offer to sign them up for the same. Some companies provide each employee with a conference budget and let them decide how many events/seminars/trainings they want to spend it on. Work out a budget and schedule that works for both parties.

‘Are you happy with your manager/Are you receiving all the professional support you need?’

Most often, we make managers appraise individual employees based on their performance and other skills. We need to do the opposite as well and get feedback on managers from employees. At most companies, this happens only during an exit interview. Working with a supportive team, with a capable and helpful manager, is one of the main things that will help employees be engaged on the task they are doing. Find out from them if they are receiving the support they need from both the management and their immediate manager.

Create an atmosphere that breeds honesty in such feedbacks. Employees should feel fearless about sharing their feedback about the higher-ups. It only takes one rogue manager to bring down a whole group of good employees.

Employee satisfaction is crucial to an organisation’s success. Studies say that disengaged employees can negatively influence the morale of other employees, make more mistakes and ultimately drive down the revenue of an organisation. So, to be on safer side, it is always better to have a clear picture of what they are going through and what they expect in their own words.

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