2 Questions Every Manager Must Ask



I spoke at the Wisconsin SHRM conference, last week. My topic was “What Oprah Taught Me About Great HR,” and we discussed areas of trust, onboarding, and engagement. This is the second time I’ve presented this content and there still needs to me some work, but I learned some more things to improve the presentation. 

On the topic of engagement, because it’s an HR conference and you have to talk about employee engagement, I offered the only 2 questions each manager needs to ask, and act on, to keep their employees engaged. While companies spend a lot of time, money, and effort on engagement surveys and fancy consultants to solve this “problem,” they miss the mark by not having every people manager ask these two simple questions at least once a month.

These 2 questions can give every manager all the information they need to keep their employees engaged and happy. They will have a roadmap and no excuses for making the best experience for their employees. 

So, what are these 2 magic questions that will save your company money and make your employees engaged? 

1.       What do you love about your job?

2.       At work, what just sucks your soul?

There you go. If you can get honest answers to these 2 questions, you have everything you need. If you get this information, you can create an environment of high engagement and high performance. 

For the first question, your employee tells you everything she loves about her job. Give her more of that. Continue to build upon all the parts of the job that she excels and does well. 

For the second question, clear away all the things, where appropriate and reasonable, that make job a miserable experience. It can be something as simple as adjusting the hours of when an employee starts or ends their day or giving them the chance to learn a new skill. 

If an employee tells you they just don’t like their job, you can help them find a job they like, whether it’s inside your company or at another employer. And that can happen respectfully. 

If you are sucking the souls of your employees, stop it. Stop it, right now. There’s no excuse to be a jerk. Being a jerk is no fun. 

While these 2 questions may seem simple and obvious, they require a strong level of trust between the manager and employee and no ego from the manager. By asking these questions, you’ve started a dialogue into some deeper conversations of career and less about the day-to-day objectives. Your employees will appreciate this attention and care on things that matter to them. And these questions will give you far more insight into your employees far more than than any engagement survey or software solution ever will. 

Originally posted on John P. Hudson blog.



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