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20 Questions You Need to Ask to Keep Your Employees Happy

20 Questions You Need to Ask to Keep Your Employees Happy

So, your star candidate has a stellar interview, the whole team loves her, you throw out an offer, and she employee engagementaccepts! You might think the time to keep asking her questions is over.

Not so fast.

The recruiting process may have wrapped, but the employee life cycle has just begun. Technically, the interview is never “over.” Keep employees engaged by keeping communication open and asking questions of them every step of the way.

But not just any questions. The right questions. Here are the ones you need:


The employee life cycle starts with recruitment. However, a survey conducted by CareerBuilder revealed that 43 percent of respondents found out the actual job description did not match what was written in the job ad during their interview. So it’s crucial to make sure everyone is on the same page during that initial interview.

In addition to asking about a candidate’s skills and experience, you need to ask questions that indicate he or she understands the position, is excited about the company, and will fit in with the culture and team.

What to ask:

  • How did you find out about us?
  • What makes you the most excited about this position?
  • What kind of work environments have you liked the most?
  • Who was the best boss you ever worked for? What made them so great?
  • What do you think motivates you?

Performance management and development

You’ve selected the perfect candidate and brought them on board. Everything’s coming up roses.

One month later, you set up a meeting to check in on progress and performance so far. While the meeting should focus on the new hire of course -- how he or she is adapting and handling workload, plus where they’re excelling --, don’t forget to evaluate your role in their success.

A survey released by Gallup in April found that only 35 percent of U.S. managers are engaged at work. The engagement problem starts with a company’s leadership, so in performance reviews, remember to check in on your own progress with your new hire to make sure you yourself are engaged.

After you discuss the employee’s progress, ask the employee how you’re doing as a manager and how you might improve. It’s nerve-wracking to turn the tables, but so worthwhile.

What to ask:

  • Do you have everything you need to perform your job on the day-to-day?
  • Do you feel support from the team?
  • What are some of your goals for the next month?
  • How am I doing? What can I work on as a manager?
  • What can I do to help make your job easier?

Stay interview

Now your employee has now been working with you for a good amount of time, and they have transformed into one of your top performers. They are a valuable part of your team, and you want to keep it that way. A recent survey conducted by 15Five found that 80 percent of employees would rather have open communication with their bosses than great office perks.

Reward your top employees with frequent communication to see what’s going great and what’s not. During the stay interview, you want to find out what they love about the job, what they don’t love, and how to keep them happy and engaged in their work.

What to ask:

  • If you could change one thing about your job, your team, or the company, what would it be?
  • What talents or skills do you have that we’re not using?
  • What other kinds of feedback would you like from me or your team?
  • What did you love in your previous position here that you’re no longer doing?
  • What makes a great work day? How can we make more days great?

Exit interview

Sometimes great employees stay with you forever, and other times, unfortunately, they may move on. According to data from the Bureau of Labor statistics, 2.8 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in March, up from 2.4 million in 2014. We definitely live in a job seeker’s market.

When it’s time to say goodbye, have an open conversation about what you can do to make the workplace better for other employees. The exit interview is also a good time to learn how your organization can be more competitive when it comes to talent. Of course, keep the conversation light and friendly -- who knows what opportunities may sprout up between you two down the road.

What to ask:

  • How would you describe the culture of our company?
  • What was your favorite part about working for us?
  • What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
  • Was there something we could have changed to have you stay?
  • Can we keep in touch?

What do you think? What other questions do you need to ask talent to keep them happy at every stage of the employee life cycle?

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Matt Straz is the founder & CEO of Namely, the HR, payroll, and benefits platform for the world’s most exciting companies. Connect with Matt and the Namely team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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