Member Manuel Gonzalez Speaks: The Power of Questioning

The Challenge:

The case at hand was brought by the CFO of a company looking to boost employee morale. He came to the Alliance meeting searching for strategies.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

If I were in your shoes, I’d ask your employees meaningful questions about what you can do better as an employer. These conversations ultimately benefit both employee morale and the long-term productivity of the company.

Why not survey your employees more directly about their experience at your company? My advice would be to focus on what may be frustrating them, so as to unlock solutions for alleviating those negative experiences. Avoid softball questions, e.g. is there enough selection at the cafeteria? Look instead for meaningful queries to probe legitimate discontent. This feedback will be invaluable in your efforts to boost morale.

In my experience – albeit one that was in a customer context – I found asking a customer directly what is not working, led to a more productive and open relationship. We hired a specialized consultant to help craft a short, powerful survey. These questions weren’t easy to formulate on-tone and we were grateful to have outsourced the job. In the end, this direct approach gave us information that contributed materially to building a much stronger employee culture and ethos. The process was much like an Alliance meeting: we come here for unvarnished advice that freshens our perspective and leads to more informed decisions. It’s the confidence and safety of this forum that allows us to voice real problems frankly and receive actionable feedback to improve them.