Types of Questions and Statements
Knowing the most effective questions to ask employees to get feedback involves using a variety of questions and statements that help guide the employee.
Open-Ended Questions and Statements
The open-ended question or statement invites the person to present their point of view or to expand on their line of thinking. It affords you an opportunity to learn more about the employee and what they are thinking and feeling at that moment, which could prove valuable. It is a great way to show the employee you care about their opinions, how they see a situation, or how a project is going. Sometimes you can craft the question into a statement format and still get the employee to provide meaningful information. Here are some basic examples to get the conversation started by getting the employee to open up:
♦ How do you feel about . . . ?
♦ Tell me about . . . .?
♦ What are your thoughts about . . . ?
♦ How do you see . . . ?
♦ I’d like to hear your opinion about . . .?
Clarifying Questions and Statements
The clarifying question or statement works well because it gives the employee an opportunity to correct any misunderstandings or errors, which is crucial in gathering good feedback. It is also a good way to keep the conversation going and prove to the employee that you are listening. Some simple examples are;
♦ It sounds like from your point of view . . .
♦ So, you are suggesting . . . ?
♦ You seem to disagree with . . .
♦ What are you suggesting again. . .?
♦ What if . . . ?
♦ It looks like . . .
Follow-up Questions and Statements
Employees do not always respond with meaningful information, even when using open-ended and clarifying types of questions or statements. If you sense you are getting vague feedback of any kind, keep using follow-up questions requesting more specific information at the level of detail you feel is necessary. Here is a variety of simple follow-up questions that can help:
♦ What did you do exactly in that situation?
♦ How did you specifically use this information?
♦ How often did . . . ?
♦ When you felt that way, what did you do?
♦ Over the last quarter, how many . . . ?
Each situation is different, as is every employee. Use your listening and questioning skills to help engage the employee in positive ways. This will increase the likelihood of the employee providing good quality feedback.