The 12 most important questions to ask your team every month

Written by: Michael Scheiner | Illustrated by: Officevibe team
Updated on: Published on: May 18, 2021 |  Reading time: 8m

You want to stay connected with your team, and understand what’s going on for them. But when you’re building a team, your team is growing, or you’re facing a new reality together, it can be hard to keep up and have meaningful conversations. These go-to questions to ask your team every month will help take a load off your shoulders to make sure you don’t miss anything important.

Having better communication structures helps you focus your attention on listening, taking action, and accomplishing your to-do list — without your team’s needs falling by the wayside. Ask the right questions to your whole team, and to each team member, using this handy database.

6 questions to ask your team every month

Maintaining ongoing communication with your team gets you more aggregate feedback on how people are feeling. You can even use an anonymous engagement survey (like the one in Officevibe) for this purpose. Whether you hold a meeting or send out an email, be sure to ask the following questions.

Product shot of the Pulse survey feature in Officevibe
Officevibe’s employee Pulse Survey software

1. How can I be a better team leader?

Why you should ask your team this question

  • It will give employees confidence to speak up and offer proactive advice.
  • It shows you are committed to being open and self critical for their benefit.
  • By listening to these answers, you’ll keep growing as a manager.

Follow up questions

  • If you all could design the perfect manager, what are some of their characteristics?
  • If you were managers, how would you do things differently?

Pro tip: It can be intimidating to ask your team these types of questions. It puts you in a vulnerable place, but this is an essential leadership quality. Approach this with an open mind and a willingness to grow as a manager, and you’re sure to get some valuable insights.

2. What can we do to improve our product (or process)?

Why you should ask your team this question

  • 21% of employees report that if they had a game-changing idea for their organization, they wouldn’t feel comfortable to share it (Officevibe Pulse Survey app data).
  • The team will feel empowered to explore their creative ideas, and motivated to pursue them.
  • It’ll reinforce the bond between the team’s efforts and the company’s success.

Follow up questions

  • Which of our current processes is the most in need of an update? Are there any of our processes that should be retired?
  • Are there any totally new and wild ideas any of you have for new products? I’d love to hear them.

Pro tip: When you hear an amazing idea, let your team member know what you think. Share it with the right people or connect the employee with them directly, and always give credit where credit is due.

3. What can we do to improve our team culture?

Why you should ask your team this question

  • It shows that work is about more than accomplishing tasks.
  • You’ll boost employee engagement and show people you care.
  • It could surface any issues that may be distracting your team.

Follow up questions

  • How important is company culture for everyone when it comes to doing their jobs?
  • What would be your ideal work culture? What do you think is blocking us from that?

4. What team building activities can we do together?

Why you should ask your team this question

  • Stronger teams mean better teamwork, which results in superior outcomes.
  • The more employees know about one another, the more they’ll be able to help each other do better work.
  • Helps build up connections on remote or distributed teams.

Follow up questions

  • How much time can we dedicate per month to team bonding and maintaining human connections?
  • Do we want to schedule a recurring time slot for team building exercises?

Pro tip: The success of team building activities can rely on external factors, like whether you work on-site or remotely. Take the reality of your team into consideration when you’re planning these types of events.

5. What (or who) is missing from our team?

Why you should ask your team this question

  • 26% of employees say they don’t have access to non-material resources such as training, support, or data, that they need to do their work properly (Officevibe Pulse Survey data).
  • It will help guide you as a manager both with recruitment and team development.
  • Solutions could be simple, but employees might not bring things up if you don’t ask.

Follow up questions

  • What is the level of urgency associated with these skills or resource gaps?
  • How might we fill in these gaps with the resources we currently have available?

6. What else can I do to better manage our team?

Why you should ask your team this question

  • It helps you spot things you might not have otherwise noticed.
  • It will make sure people have what they need to work effectively.
  • Employees will feel more connected to decision-making and strategic direction.

Follow up questions

  • Does anyone want to pitch in on further developing and/or implementing some of these ideas?
  • Are there opportunities for collective leadership from the team to fulfill some of these needs?

6 questions to ask each employee every month

The individual employee-manager relationship is special. Asking questions in one-on-ones helps you get a monthly checkup on how people are doing. This is a great way to show you care about their personal progress, and be empathetic to hearing about their challenges.

1. What’s one thing you did recently you are proud of?

Why you should ask your employees this question

  • It’s an opportunity to see a trajectory of their progress.
  • It will motivate employees to keep striving forward.
  • It builds pride and confidence in the employee.
  • You’ll get added insight into what they find important.

Follow up questions

  • Did you expect to be so proud of how your work came out? If not, isn’t it amazing to surprise yourself?
  • What’s something you’ve learned from this achievement that you see yourself applying going forward?

Pro tip: Giving meaningful employee recognition is an essential part of management that too often gets forgotten. The answers you get to this question help you learn more about what’s important to people, so you can give recognition where it will mean the most.

2. What were your biggest challenges this month?

Why you should ask your employees this question

  • 1 in 4 employees don’t feel their manager is aware of their pain points (Officevibe Pulse Survey data).
  • It can show them areas where they can focus on improving their skills.
  • It gives you a better idea of what types of work challenge them.

Follow up questions

  • What’s your biggest learning from facing this challenge?
  • How might we catch these obstacles together in advance?

Pro tip: Challenges aren’t always easy to articulate in person, but an anonymous feedback platform like Officevibe can help employees voice their challenges more comfortably.

Screenshot of an anonymous message in Officevibe
Anonymous employee feedback in Officevibe

3. What’s one thing that, looking back, you would have done differently?

Why you should ask your employees this question

  • It gives employees the opportunity for self-reflection and being accountable.
  • It helps them create a roadmap to avoid mistakes going forward.
  • They’ll be more confident to try doing things differently and experimenting.

Follow up questions

  • At what point did you realize you should have done things differently? Was there anything you could have done to help you react faster?
  • Was there any reason you didn’t speak up at the time? I’m always eager to hear your concerns, even if that means work needs to be put on pause.
  • Is there any ongoing work that you feel might also be off track?

4. What can I do to make next month more successful for you?

Why you should ask your employees this question

  • It teaches people to plan ahead and anticipate where they might need a hand.
  • It shows them that they can ask you for whatever guidance they need.
  • Employees will get more of the support and resources they need going forward.

Follow up questions

  • Should we set goals for you, or plan action items related to this?
  • How will we know we’ve accomplished what we set out to do?

5. Are there projects that you want to be involved in?

Why you should ask your employees this question

  • 1 in 3 employees don’t feel appropriately involved in decisions that affect their work (Officevibe Pulse Survey data).
  • Employee autonomy helps people feel a deeper connection to their work.
  • Involving employees in decision-making lets them know you value their opinion, and care about their development.

Follow up questions

  • I didn’t realize you wanted to be involved here. How do you see yourself contributing to the project?
  • It might be too late for this one, but can we be more proactive to find similar opportunities for you coming up?

Pro tip: You won’t always be able to get everyone working on all the initiatives they’d like to. But showing that you’d like to try will help people speak up when they see opportunities they want to pursue. The more this happens, the more everyone will find their place.

6. Are there projects that you’d rather not be involved in?

Why you should ask your employees this question

  • You open up a space where they can freely express any areas they’re feeling disengaged.
  • It’ll keep job satisfaction high by preventing people from getting stuck with too many tasks they don’t like.
  • It lets the employee know they are free to express themselves, and it’s safe to do so.

Follow up questions

  • I’m glad you shared this. Is there anything I can do to help you find your place on this project?
  • Was there something I missed when I thought you’d be a good fit here?
  • How can we get you working on initiatives that are more suited to your strengths going forward?

A good manager asks, a great manager acts

When asking your team or individual employees questions, remember, it doesn’t stop with their immediate answers. You’ll always want to take notes and follow up. When you follow through on the employee feedback you get, it shows you’re committed to creating the conditions for great work.

Too busy? We got you.

You can save the image below (drag to your desktop or right-click and save) with the main and most actionable points from this article, and/or send them to your email.

Takeaways from the 12 most important questions to ask your team every month
Get the key points