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January 20, 2020

8 Key Questions Employees Want to Know (But Might Not Ask)


As leaders, we spend much of our time and effort setting business goals and developing plans to achieve them. Yet the most important element behind everything is your team. If they don’t understand where they fit in, all of our lofty goals will go nowhere.

Whether employees ask them or not, there are several key questions that are on their minds—I call them The Eight Key Questions.
These questions are a lot like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which states that only after a person has fulfilled certain levels of needs can he or she begin to move to more complex levels of thought, such as self-awareness and understanding of others. In other words, employees’ basic needs—the “me-focused” needs—have to be addressed first before employees can begin to think beyond themselves.

The Ultimate Payoff

The ultimate payoff is when employees ask “How can I help?” This is an expression of engagement—a willingness to do more—which also demonstrates a strong emotional connection to the organization. Once employees feel taken care of, they become more aware of changes or initiatives happening outside their department or function and ask the question, “What’s going on?” This is a transitional question that takes employees from “me” to “we.” The “we-focused” questions that follow are really about the larger organization.

It’s important to remember that these are questions that employees think about, and perhaps ask, every day—whether they are new to the organization or veterans. When change happens, employees immediately go back to the me-focused questions. Our job as leaders is to get them back to question number eight as quickly as possible (“How can I help?”). If we don’t, that’s when business often gets stopped, slowed, or interrupted, as employees work through—or are challenged by—change.

The Eight Key Questions


How do you go about answering these questions for your employees?

—David Grossman

Town halls are often one of the best or only opportunities for senior leaders to connect with employees in a meaningful way, especially for global companies with remote workers. Click below to download this ebook—Make the Most of Your Town Hall: 10 Ways to Unleash the Power of Your Team—and get insights to leverage your town halls to connect employees to their leaders and business strategy today.

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