When was the last time you read an article praising annual employee reviews? Chances are, it’s been a while. The secret is not to ask once a year if employees are happy, but to assess their likes and dislikes in a frequent, trustworthy manner with focused questions.
Most organisations now realise that assessments of employee satisfaction should occur far more frequently than once a year.
In that spirit, here are seven questions you can use to gauge how happy your employees are. The key, with all seven, is to make sure you are getting honest answers from your employees (anonymity helps). And to make sure you are asking far more frequently than once a year.
This is a straightforward bureaucracy-buster. You know that if several employees cite the same process, you have hit on a source of serious frustration.
It is not to imply that you have to tell your employees everything. What you are trying to assess is whether employees feel surprised or blindsided by your decisions–or if you are inconsistent on big-picture topics.
This may seem frivolous, but it matters. If you can fix something for your employees, why don’t you?
This question comes from Dr. John Sullivan, an HR thought leader and former chief talent officer for Agilent Technologies. Sullivan notes that this –the “best work of your life” question–is the No. 1 retention factor for top performers.
See: Science Claims Happy Employee are More Productive
This question also comes from Sullivan. The aim is to identify actions that make employees feel appreciated.
There are plenty of evidences that a lack of advancement opportunities–or better advancement opportunities, elsewhere–are why employees leave. Two-time founder Jason Lemkin stresses that finding a growth path for all employees is one of his five biggest lessons learned, when it comes to retention. Likewise, in a recent LinkedIn survey of more than 7,500 employees who’d recently left their jobs, respondents cited greater opportunities for advancement as the number one reason they took new gigs.
In the same LinkedIn survey, the number two reason respondents chose their new jobs was “better leadership from senior management.” Beyond the retention benefits, learning if employees lack faith in your leadership can only improve your performance as CEO.
And if you get depressed reading such employee feedback, you are not alone. The secret? Make something happen. And then watch as employees improve their responses, once it is clear that you actually act on their feedback.
Asking for feedback is only one third of the battle. If you ask, you would better be accountable and be prepared to assign resources to the project.
See also: Figuring Out How Much to Pay Top Talent