Whether you just started using 15Five or have been thinking about taking a closer look at the current questions being asked of your people, understanding question management is key. Are you getting the most out of questions? Are people skipping the optional questions they're being asked? Where are all of these questions coming from, anyway? Asking the right questions is just as important as asking for project/objective updates and priorities.
In this article, you will learn...
- What's in a question? (How asking the right questions can unlock the potential of your team)
- Examples of types of questions to ask
- Question resources from 15Five
What's in a question?
Questions are a core feature in 15Five, and for good reason. Questions are a huge part of how we interact as humans, and are an essential part of the 15Five feedback loop. Questions in 15Five should be more than “How are you?" or "Tell me about your work week." While the Pulse question is important to help gauge the health of your company and build rapport, there is even more potential that you can unlock when pairing the Pulse question with other well-crafted questions.
You can utilize Check-in questions to build a better work culture, make your team more productive, and enhance each other’s quality of life. That’s huge!
Questions can be used to ask anything an account admin, group admin, or direct manager may want to know, but some great use cases for questions are:
- Checking in after a global event (ex. COVID, political unrest, national events, etc.)
- Encouraging self-reflection and growth within employee roles and beyond
- Gathering ideas: people love being asked their opinion, and they likely will give innovative answers that you may not have thought of
- Asking questions to create company culture practices and programs that actually address what the company needs— by asking, rather than assuming. Examples of this could be onboarding feedback, thoughts on office policies, what steps the company can take to be more inclusive, etc.
Encouraging transparent communication through asking the right questions can foster psychological safety— what Amy Edmondson defines as "a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking"— on your team. And organizations that invest time and attention into developing psychological safety will see the results of that work, such as increased engagement, productivity, efficacy, and collaboration. We can’t just assume that employees will willingly share ideas and feelings, as it has become increasingly out of practice for employers to solicit productive feedback from their employees and act on that feedback after its given. Questions are a great tool to build a company culture where everyone feels like they can share how they're feeling, their ideas, and their opinions and thrive as a result.
Blog post 📝: The Science of Building Psychologically Safe Team Relationships (12 min read)
Are you new to questions? Check out the "Questions" section of our Help Center for articles on how to create and manage questions for your team, or the "Check-ins and Questions reporting" section for articles about how to report on questions asked to your organization.
Examples of types of questions to ask
In this section, you will learn...
- The power of the “Anything else to add?” question
- Use questions to examine motivation
- Connect employees and create relationships with questions
Permissions for creating questions are as follows: account administrators can create questions for anyone, group admins can create questions for group members, and direct managers can create questions for their direct reports. It is not possible for an individual to create a question for themselves.
The power of the "Anything else to add?" question
By default, a question that asks "Anything else you'd like to add?" is included at the bottom of all Check-ins. Asking this question provides a great opportunity for employees to surface questions, issues, or other subjects that they want to bring up, but that weren't specifically asked about on their Check-in. There are many creative ways that customers have used this question, but a great example we've seen was from a 15Five customer that owns a dog grooming business. An employee there used the "Anything else you'd like to add?" section to get job advice from other dog groomers who may have had similar experiences.
In this solution, the employee utilized the “Anything else” question and mentioned @all to ask everything in their organization for advice. It's also possible to use @mentions to mention a specific group, or a few people whose advice you wish to seek. This gives the employee the freedom to get feedback from anyone they want in your organization. If you want feedback to be a bit more private, you can also use 15Five's Request Feedback feature to get feedback from specific people.
This doesn't have to stop at dog groomers, but can also apply to departments and teams in your organization. By promoting the use of this question, along with the possibility of using @mentions, you can help foster a sense of community within your company.
Help Center article 💡: Use @mentions in 15Five
Help Center article 💡: Enable @mentions for your company
Use questions to examine employee motivation
Questions are a great place to start when trying to figure out what motivates your people, and what, therefore, makes them more productive and creative. Best-Self Review® and Career Hub are other spaces where you can have these types of conversations, but integrating development and motivation-centric questions into regular Check-ins keeps you in the know about: projects that are energizing for your people, what things your team may need in order to function at the top of their game, and what skills your team is interested in developing.
Some example questions you could ask are...
- What energized you this week?
- What drained your energy this week?
- What skills are you interested in developing?
- How have your personal energy levels been? If you wanted to move up a number, what would it take?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much confidence do you have in our ability to execute towards our goals?
- What % of your time are you spending in your zone of genius compared with your zone of excellence?
According to "The Big Leap" by Gay Hendricks, the "Zone of Excellence" is where employees perform activities extremely well and make a great living, but are capable of much more. The "Zone of Genius" is where employees offer their unique gifts and where self-actualization occurs.
Trends and metric questions are accessible ways to start this practice. Trends reporting allows account admins and direct managers to view answers given to quantitative questions over time and see how they fluctuate depending on current events, specific campaigns at the company, or even how long it has been since the individual has taken time off (hinting at possible burn out approaching).
Creating a question queue with development and motivation-specific questions is a good way to make sure the questions are getting asked regularly without overwhelming your employees or making their Check-ins take too long to fill out.
Connect individuals & create relationships with questions
Are there teams whose responsibilities and tasks day-to-day you're unaware of? Maybe even some in your own department? You can help fight silos and promote inter-department connection by using questions!
To do so, you can set up a question (some companies set these up monthly or bi-weekly) to prompt people to hold a coffee/tea chat with another member of the company. We do this at 15Five and it has led to insightful conversations with other team members that have, in turn, led our staff to build better processes that support both team's needs. This is extra helpful for remote teams as well!
When individuals connect outside of their day to day projects and tasks, friendships form, creating a closer work environment— an environment where everyone can see the humanity in each other and know who to go to when they have a specific question (or opportunity!). These meetings are also really useful to bridge gaps between departments that may never really talk to each other, even if they work closely.
Example question to ask:
- Who in the company would you like to have a 15-minute coffee chat with? @mention them here!
Question resources from 15Five
- Guide 📖: 60 Powerful Questions to Unlock Your Team’s Potential
- Guide 📖: The Great eBook of Remote Employee Questions
- Blog post 📝: 10 Must-Ask Questions To Supercharge Your Leadership
- Blog post 📝: 10 Questions to Ask Your Hybrid Employees To Keep Them Engaged
- Blog post 📝: 10 Questions To Create A Workplace Culture That Employees Love
- Blog post 📝: 13 Questions To Solicit High-Quality Employee Feedback
- Webinar 👩🏾💻: Question Management Strategy: 101 (40 min)
Have a scenario regarding questions and need some help? Reach out to our Support Team or your organization's appointed CSM.