Unlock Employee Insights: 6 Questions That Spark Improvement

How often do you ask employees how the business could be improved? I’m still surprised how asking employees for ideas isn’t standard practice in most businesses. I’m not talking about setting up an idea/suggestion box; it’s not enough. I’m talking about seeking out people’s ideas.

Whether it’s how to be more efficient, how to avoid redundant mistakes, or how to improve customer satisfaction, great ideas to improve your business are sitting in your employee’s heads; it’s your job to engage them so they can share those ideas with you.

Maybe employees want to share their ideas but they don’t feel safe doing so. Maybe they don’t feel like you will listen to them and value their opinion. This is a potential blocker that you’ve created between you and your employees. The way to break this obstacle is to signal that you’re open to sharing ideas. How?

Listen more!

The foundation of leadership is trust, which starts with listening. The moment you stop listening to the opinions of others is the moment you’ll be surrounded by people who don’t care. So, go around and talk with employees, sit down, and have a formal conversation. This isn’t rocket science!

Want some questions to jumpstart your conversation?

I recently read a book by Brad Jacobs, CEO of XPO and author of How To Make a Few Billion Dollars. There’s a section where he lists six questions he asks employees of an acquired business. This is important because integrating two businesses is a challenge, so taking the time to talk with employees about what works and what doesn’t is a very important first step.

These questions can also be used by business leaders to evaluate their business, whether they’re acquiring it or not.

  1. What’s the business doing well that we’d be crazy to change?
  2. What’s the business doing not so well that we’d be crazy not to change?
  3. What’s your best idea to improve the business?
  4. What’s something that could be made more profitable?
  5. What’s something that could be more customer-friendly?
  6. What’s something we can do to improve the workplace environment?

Take these questions and use them to improve your business. Show your employees that you care about them, and show them you value their ideas and opinions. Remember, employees are closer to the action than you are. And, if you think they don’t have an opinion on how to make things better, think again; they do!

Bottom line: Ideas come from everywhere. Your job is to create the conditions for people to bring them forward.