8 Questions You Should Be Asking To Promote A Positive Workplace Culture

November 21, 2017 / Ask Great Questions

8 Questions You Should Be Asking To Promote A Positive Workplace Culture

November 21, 2017

Rae Steinbach Freelance Editor, 15five

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.

We hear plenty of talk about “workplace culture” these days. But as those words travel down the echo chamber, many companies are still struggling to develop a healthy organizational culture. We all want employees who have a more positive attitude that can be felt throughout the real and virtual work environment. But how do you create that experience from the ground up or once your culture is already set?

Communication is the framework on which healthy workplace cultures are built. Start simply by having every manager at your company check-in with their employees every week. Try the following feedback questions to help foster transparency and authentic relationships between managers and their direct reports. With the right questions, any company can begin heading in the direction to build a more positive work culture.

Name one quality you see in a coworker that you would like to see more of in yourself.

This statement encourages employees to look for the best qualities in the people around them and increases gratitude and appreciation in the office. It also provides employees with the opportunity to uncover their core values and the values that they seek in others. This will inevitably lead to a healthier, more connected team environment.

One of our employees recently voiced appreciation for our blog content, so he was invited to contribute a blog post of his own. Turns out he is a great writer! By naming a quality he admired in another, he discovered that it also exists within himself. 

Think about your most recent accomplishments. Of which are you most proud?

This question gives employees a chance to think back and take pride in their work. When employees are encouraged to view their accomplishments and laud the quality and value of their work, they are more likely to perform well in the future.

What could I do to be a better leader?

Some employees might have a tough time with this question, but it provides incredibly valuable insights. It can help you learn your team’s views on leadership and gain more visibility into your own management style. Mostly though, this level of vulnerability encourages greater transparency and strengthens relationships between managers and employees.

When employees learn about how a manager or other company leader made a decision that didn’t produce the best results, they are encouraged to be transparent with their own missed opportunities and mistakes. Then they open themselves up to support and resources from management and other team members.

What is your idea of a positive workplace?

With so much focus on productivity, the idea of a positive workplace often gets forgotten. Productivity is important, and there are few things that promote it like a work environment where people feel safe and connected. Ask your employees what they think would bring more positivity to the office.

How are you affecting the people around you?

People tend to focus so much on their own responsibilities that they lose sight of how their actions impact others. This question gets people to reflect on their own habits and behaviors and the impact they personally have on the team. Those who are focused on growth and development will take action over time.

What opportunities for growth and learning do you see for you and your coworkers?

In many cases, it’s easier for team members to identify the opportunities for growth that exist for the people they work with. Since we are often our own worst critics, it can be difficult to do this for ourselves. This question, when asked across the entire team, creates a culture of growth and development. Managers can take this information to seek the resources they may need to create growth and learning. 

Our CEO David Hassell does a weekly check-in, using the 15five tool and shares his responses with the entire team. Submitting a report to the staff informs us of his goals, triumphs, ideas and even mistakes.

Uncommon Tip: Instead of rewarding exceptional work or an employee’s birthday with a team lunch or Starbucks gift card, keep a repository of the responses to these questions. When the appropriate time arises, get that person the business book they’ve been wanting, pay for their guitar lessons or send them to a seminar. It’s more than a gift to show appreciation, it’s an investment in your employee and your company.

If you could spend time learning from one person at the company, who would it be?

People have diverse talents that manifest personally and professionally. Encourage your employees to spend time with each other, learn from one another and share their talents and creative ideas. This will build bonds between co-workers, especially those on different teams who don’t get to interact organically.

Which company value do you wish you were more connected to?

For many organizations, “company values” is a meaningless buzzword — something to throw up on a wall and forget about. This question keeps the values alive and relevant. Your company values should be the guide by which employees work and interact with each other. When people are purpose-driven and feel they share common values, the culture will thrive.

It can be easy to forget about positivity in the workplace. Leaders have a tendency to focus on deliverables and KPIs and forget about how those things are accomplished. You may not be able to quantify positivity, but it’s one of the most important components of a healthy workplace culture. When workplace cultures lack positivity and become toxic, leaders will certainly notice the significant impact on the bottom line.

Easily tracking answers to the questions above along with goals and other employee feedback through a tool like 15five will help align your employees, maximize their performance and authentically connect them to your company’s purpose.

Rae Steinbach Freelance Editor, 15five

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.

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