Five Questions you need to ask your Key Staff Members

If the number five seems familiar, you might remember my last post about the Five Questions you need to ask an Executive Search firm.  In keeping with the five question theme we will move to the next topic that is near and dear to my heart.

Our firm provides Talent Acquisition and Talent Development solutions for clients in a variety of industries.  The Five Questions we will discuss today are not industry specific, nor are they role specific.  I trust you will find that these Five Questions cover a wide range of critical issues that you need to keep in mind with any key staff member in your firm.

Let’s get started!

  1. What do you like best about working for our firm?  Too often we don’t ask our employees what they like about their work.  No news is not good news; no news is a mistake!  Ask your key team members what is working for them.  They will tell you
  2. What would you change if you could about our workplace?  The opposite of question 1, but just as important.  Listening to the answer to question 1 is easy.  Hearing the answer to this question, especially in a non-defensive manner is the real challenge.  Don’t try to refute what you don’t like or agree with, just listen.
  3. What would you like to be doing if you could do anything else?  Don’t ask this in the vernacular “at our firm”.  Be more open-ended than that and you might be surprised what you learn.  I was talking with someone today and I learned that this person wanted to learn more about cooking and auto mechanics.  Not what I expected, but it is good to know how other people think.
  4. Who would you like to work with more/less?  This question is similar to the first two, but it gets more into how people work with others, or don’t work with others.  Key staff members may be very productive, but they could be even more productive with the right complimentary team mates.  Ask their opinion and see how you might accommodate them.
  5. What would cause you to leave our firm?  Don’t ask this first, ask it last.  The first four questions are the warm-up for this one.  Key performers really need to feel you trust them to answer this question.  Never, ever assume that key staff members will not leave.  I have seen immovable fixtures leave organizations and those in leadership had no clue they were unhappy or looking.  Don’t be sorry-ask this question.

Five key questions that will help you gain a better understanding of your key performers.  All five questions are important and the sequence in which you ask them is just as important.

Take the time to talk and interact with these key performers.  The more you know them and the more they trust you, the better off you all will be.

Trust me.