October 19, 2023

Creating a meaningful work environment: 12 career questions leaders can ask employees

A paycheck and occasional office lunches are not enough to retain your best talent. Employees are looking for opportunities to learn and grow in an environment that allows them to perform at their best.

Investing in team members’ learning and development has proven to increase retention. In fact, a lack of career development and advancement is the No. 1 reason why employees left their jobs between April 2021 and April 2022, according to a McKinsey survey.

It’s up to company leaders to build a culture of learning that aligns with team members’ career goals and work styles. This knowledge helps leaders measure success and identify which tools and resources are needed at the company to help employees grow.

To create a more meaningful work environment, here are 12 questions leaders can ask employees in surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one meetings.

6 questions to ask about employees’ career goals

The purpose of these questions is to identify how you can create a learning and development plan for employees based on how they see themselves advancing within the company.

  1. What are your short-term career goals and how can I support you?
  2. Where do you see yourself in the company in the next 1-3 years?
  3. What are your long-term career aspirations?
  4. What skills or experiences do you want to gain in your current role?
  5. How do you define success in your career?
  6. Are there any challenges you think may hinder your career growth within the company?

6 questions to ask about employees’ preferred work style

The purpose of these questions is to help leaders adjust their management approach and communication style when necessary to create a more productive environment. Employees’ answers to these questions will also give more insight into how to reduce burnout and work stress.

  1. How do you prefer to receive feedback and recognition for your work?
  2. What motivates you in your day-to-day work?
  3. Do you prefer working independently, collaboratively, or a combination of both?
  4. Are there any tools, software, or resources you need to excel in your role?
  5. What type of work environment or culture brings out the best in you?
  6. How can I better support you to make sure you aren’t overwhelmed or overworked?

4 questions leaders should ask themselves when implementing employee feedback

Gathering employee feedback is only useful when leaders are prepared to put a plan into action. This helps build trust with employees while building a supportive and collaborative work culture.

Once leaders identify common themes in employees’ responses, they can ask themselves these four questions:

  1. What specific actions can I take to address my team’s main concerns and suggestions?
  2. How can I incorporate this feedback into our company’s existing policies, programs, and overall goals?
  3. What resources and support do I need?
  4. How can I track progress and commit to acting on this feedback?

Learn more about building a culture of learning and support.

📕Download our Inclusive Leadership Guide and learn how company executives can lead with empathy, practice allyship, and make decisions rooted in equity.

🗣️Learn more about how our company training sessions can help your team have transformative conversations in the workplace.

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